Trump campaign seeks to intervene in Arizona mail-in ballot legal fight

Trump campaign seeks to intervene in Arizona mail-in ballot legal fight
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The Trump campaign is asking a federal judge to allow it to intervene in a lawsuit brought by a group of Navajo Nation residents seeking to ease Arizona's mail-in ballot deadline.

The campaign filed a motion Thursday arguing that the lawsuit would unfairly give reservation residents an exception to state law requiring that ballots be received by Election Day, which could affect the campaign's chance of success in the state.

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The campaign also argued that the election would be thrown into chaos if Arizona were forced to accept certain ballots as long as they were postmarked on or before Nov. 3.

"Counting these ballots would affect [the campaign] and other candidates seeking office at the local, state, and federal level because it would change the share of votes those candidates receive and give preference to one specific type of voter over all others," the campaign wrote in its motion.

A lawyer for the six tribal members who brought the suit did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

The group filed its complaint in federal court in Arizona late last month against Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, seeking to ease the deadline due to the geographical isolation and rampant poverty on the reservation that makes postal service difficult for residents.

"Voting by mail systems rest upon the premise that all citizens have equal mail service, however, hundreds of thousands of rural Americans have non-standard mail service burdened with a range of service limits including irregular service or unreliable service, no residential delivery, excessive distances to post offices or other postal providers with limited hours of operation among other issues," the Navajo Nation members wrote in their complaint.

Hobbs said earlier this week that the deadline and its restrictions are set by state law, but that her office would comply with a court order easing the deadline.

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"I understand their concerns, which is why we are prioritizing outreach efforts in parts of the state that don't have consistent postal service," Hobbs said in a statement. "Under the current circumstances, we have to make sure voters are aware of the options available to them. This includes returning a ballot-by-mail as soon as possible or taking it to a secure drop box or a voting location."

The president's reelection campaign wrote on Thursday that it should be allowed to intervene in the lawsuit because it is not confident that Hobbs would defend the law and because of her criticism of Trump.

Hobbs last month asked Arizona's attorney general to investigate the Trump administration's controversial handling of the Postal Service in the months leading up to the election.

"Because the Secretary is on record making the same (unfounded) vote-by-mail allegations as the Plaintiffs, she can hardly be expected to defend the postal allegations in the Complaint," the campaign wrote.

Hobbs's spokeswoman declined to comment on the Trump campaign motion.