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A court rules that Arizona voters must fix missing signatures by Election Day.

Ballots in Arizona that have missing signatures must be corrected by a voter before Election Day, rather than five days after, in order for their vote to count, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.

The decision in Arizona affects what is known as the ballot “curing” process, in which a voter is contacted by an election official if there is an issue with their absentee ballot and given an opportunity to fix the issue. Not all states in the country offer ballot curing.

The ruling from the Ninth District Court of Appeals was a victory for Republicans, who had appealed a decision from a lower court that voters should be given five days after Election Day to fix missing signatures.

“All ballots must have some deadline, and it is reasonable that Arizona has chosen to make that deadline Election Day itself so as to promote its unquestioned interest in administering an orderly election and to facilitate its already burdensome job of collecting, verifying, and counting all of the votes in timely fashion,” the court said in its opinion.

Arizona had recently passed a law allowing voters who had “mismatched” signatures — ones that didn’t match the ones on file — to fix their ballots up to five days after Election Day, but the law did not extend to missing signatures.

The Arizona Democratic Party sued, and a lower court ruled in their favor. But the Ninth Circuit found that “a five-day grace period beyond Election Day to supply missing signatures would indeed increase the administrative burdens on the State to some extent.”

The decision comes as hundreds of cases are still pending around the country, leaving the rules and regulations by which ballots will be cast and counted in November uncertain.

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