FILE - Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich 

After a federal appellate court ruled that Arizona's controversial prohibition of "ballot harvesting" violates federal law and is unconstitutional, Attorney General Mark Brnovich has vowed to challenge the decision in the nation's highest court.  

Ballot harvesting is the practice of collecting and submitting mail-in voter ballots by volunteers or professional workers. Sometimes workers are affiliated with campaigns, PACs, and other types of advocacy groups. 

It is common in some areas where absentee voting is commonplace. However, it is illegal in several jurisdictions across the United States.  

Arizona is one such a place. Conservative state lawmakers proposed and passed a law intended to protect the integrity of the state's elections from so-called rampant voter fraud.  

Though a split decision, a panel for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled earlier that the policy is unconstitutional, discriminatory, and violates the Voting Rights Act. 

Brnovich's action asks the court to stay the decision's enforcement, as he prepares to petition for the case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

"The Ninth Circuit took the unusual step of overruling multiple previous rulings in the State's favor, thereby rejecting Arizona's authority to secure its elections and discourage potential voter fraud, "Brnovich said Friday. The "filing is the first step in seeking a full review and decision from the Supreme Court," he added. 

The federal court found cause to declare the ballot harvesting law a discriminatory policy against Native American tribes, immigrants, and communities of color. 

In declaring the law unconstitutional, the majority declared the “criminalization of the collection of another person’s ballot was enacted with discriminatory intent.”

Lawmakers made it a felony to participate in ballot harvesting. State election officers have even called the law an enactment of discriminatory intent.  

Brnovich argued in new filings that the judges on the 9th Circuit are guilty of political bias. The judges have not responded to this accusation.