- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - The Latest on efforts to block a new Arizona law criminalizing ballot collection (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

A federal judge is considering a request by state and national Democratic groups to block a new Arizona law outlawing collection of early ballots.

U.S. District Court Judge Douglas L. Rayes heard arguments Wednesday on the Democrats’ request for an injunction blocking the law from taking effect. He said he’d issue a ruling later.

House Bill 2023 makes it a felony to return someone else’s ballot to election officials in most cases. Republicans pushed the law through the Legislature earlier this year, arguing that so-called “ballot harvesting” can lead to election fraud.

The state argues the new law ensures the integrity of elections and calls it a reasonable step to prevent voting fraud. Democrats argue it illegally disenfranchises minority voters.

1 a.m.

Lawyers representing state and national Democratic groups opposed to a new Arizona law outlawing collection of early ballots by get-out-the-vote groups are urging a federal judge to block it from going into effect.

House Bill 2023 makes it a felony to return someone else’s ballot to election officials in most cases. Republicans pushed the law through the Legislature earlier this year, arguing that so-called “ballot harvesting” can lead to election fraud.

The state argues the new law ensures the integrity of elections and calls it a reasonable step to prevent voting fraud. Democrats argue it illegally disenfranchises minority voters.

U.S. District Court Judge Douglas L. Rayes has set aside six hours of court time Wednesday to hear the Democrats’ request for an injunction blocking the law from taking effect.

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