In a bombshell decision to wrap up the court’s current term, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Arizona GOP in a 6–3 ruling Thursday that will allow two laws aimed at preventing voter fraud in the state to stand.
The decision came down along ideological lines, according to CBS News, with Justice Samuel Alito authoring the majority opinion.
“Fraud can affect the outcome of a close election, and fraudulent votes dilute the right of citizens to cast ballots that carry appropriate weight. Fraud can also undermine public confidence in the fairness of elections and the perceived legitimacy of the announced outcome,” Alito wrote, according to CBS.
“Ensuring that every vote is cast freely, without intimidation or undue influence, is also a valid and important state interest,” the justice added.
Dems cry foul
The case at issue targeted GOP-backed laws in Arizona meant to tamp down on ballot harvesting and root out potential fraud. One requires polling places to discard ballots cast in the incorrect precinct, while the other limits who can collect mail-in or absentee ballots from those who opt not to vote in person, according to CBS.
Unsurprisingly, Democrats were quick to lambast the court’s ruling in the case, which progressive Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) said effectively “gutted” the Voting Rights Act.
In a tweet, Jones went on to renew calls to add new seats to the Supreme Court bench, an idea that first made headlines last fall, as Democrats expressed concern over then-President Donald Trump’s historic three appointments to the high court.
Today, the Supreme Court once again gutted the Voting Rights Act.
If we don’t expand the Court soon, we will no longer have a democracy to protect.
What are we waiting for?pic.twitter.com/mti1ZG6Enf
— Mondaire Jones (@MondaireJones) July 1, 2021
“Opportunity for mischief”
But while Democrats are crying foul, those on the right are celebrating the ruling, with the Washington Examiner‘s editorial board writing Saturday that the high court’s conservative majority was “right on target.”
“Both rules are intended to combat voter fraud,” the board wrote of the Arizona laws. “Neither rule places a significant burden on voters, especially in that state because, as Justice Samuel Alito noted in the second sentence of his decision, ‘Arizona law generally makes it very easy to vote.'”
Referring to the regulations on ballot collecting, the editorial board doubled down, writing:
Even if the volunteers don’t engage in practices as blatant as signature forgery or the like, the opportunity for mischief is significant.
“How easy is it to ask confused elderly people about their voter preferences and then to deliver the ones for the volunteer’s candidate while ‘losing’ the others?” the Examiner inquired. “Arizona…has both the legal right and the practical reason to outlaw this dodgy practice.”