PHOENIX - UPDATE: A US appeals court ruled on Oct. 13 that voters now only have until Oct. 15 to register to vote. Read more.
U.S. District Judge Steven Logan in Phoenix sided with organizing groups Mi Familia Vota and Arizona Coalition for Change. He ruled hours before the original deadline arrived at midnight that voter registration forms received by 5 p.m. on Oct. 23 should be considered valid.
Mi Familia Vota and the Arizona Coalition for Change filed suit last week arguing that they’ve faced higher costs and lower success rates in their voter registration efforts because of the pandemic. The suit was opposed by the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Gov. Doug Ducey.
Political organizers largely suspended in-person operations in March as the coronavirus began spreading in larger numbers. Republicans have resumed many in-person voter education and outreach efforts while many Democratic groups are still organizing exclusively through digital means.
“We have seen our community has not been registering during this pandemic. Latino communities have been hit the hardest in this pandemic when it comes to losing our jobs, access to health," said Eduardo Sainz with Mi Familia Vota.
Arizona is a crucial battleground in the race for the presidency and control of the U.S. Senate.
“Some people don’t have cars. Some people don’t have phones. Some people don’t have access to the internet. What we know is one of the most effective ways to register people to vote is face to face registration," said Reginald Holding, State Representative and also with Arizona Coalition for Change.
Looking ahead, Oct. 23 is the deadline to request an early ballot to return by mail.
According to the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, since January, Maricopa County has had more than 200,000 new registrants -- totaling about 2.5 million voters overall -- a record amount.
“Yesterday was the third-highest. Just yesterday we had 19,000 forms come in with voters updating information or they are registering to vote for the first time," said Diana Solorio with the recorder’s office.
New Arizona residents are jumping through some extra hoops to make the deadline.
"I had to get my passport which was in Chicago. I got that delivered on Thursday, so to get all the paperwork done and documentation," said Keith Cooper, registered voter.
People can register to vote through the state’s ServiceArizona.com website or through the office of each county recorder.
You can check your voter registration status here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.