Arizona is one of several Republican-led states facing backlash over efforts to enforce election integrity laws.
Most recently, a case challenging the constitutionality of that state’s ban on so-called ballot harvesting has reached the Supreme Court, which is expected to issue its decision this week.
State laws face scrutiny
According to reports, the court might also rule on another Arizona law mandating that ballots cast in the wrong district be dismissed.
As for the ballot harvesting ban, that law has been in effect since 2016 and prevented several groups from staging door-to-door campaigns in which participants asked residents if they returned their early ballots and offering to do so on their behalf if not.
Under the existing law, only relatives, individuals living in the same household, or caregivers can return another person’s ballot.
A trial judge upheld the law but it was struck down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which described it as an attempt to suppress the vote of minorities.
Ahead of a Supreme Court decision, advocates like Election Integrity Project California President Linda Paine have stressed the perceived importance of a ruling that upholds the Arizona law.
“To protect citizens from unscrupulous entities”
“It is our hope the Court will do the right thing and rule that all states, including Arizona, have the right to enact sensible measures to ensure the integrity of the electoral system,” Paine said in March. “The inherent risks associated with widespread use of vote-by-mail ballots demand common sense protections. States have a constitutional responsibility to ensure every lawfully cast ballot is processed in a fair, honest and transparent manner in order to protect citizens from unscrupulous entities who seek to adversely affect elections.”
While proponents of the law did not provide actual evidence of fraud perpetrated through ballot harvesting, they argued that it should be prohibited because a large number of voters feared that fraud was likely.
Of course, the state has largely moved beyond that law after enacting additional measures following November’s election.
Polling shows a large number of voters are skeptical about the integrity of elections, which has sparked the pursuit of related legislation in states across the U.S. in recent months.
While voting laws must tread a fine line between providing protection against possible fraud and ensuring access to the polls for all eligible voters, millions of voters clearly believe additional safeguards are warranted.