Democrats have largely resorted to condemning any proposed election integrity measures as racist and somehow discriminatory toward minority voters.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, however, that a pair of contested voter reform laws in Arizona should be upheld, as Breitbart reported.
“Strong and entirely legitimate”
On the strength of its conservative majority, the court reportedly determined that the restrictions did not represent a violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, as progressive critics insisted.
Specifically, the high court affirmed the constitutionality of a 2016 ban on so-called ballot harvesting — the third-party collection of absentee ballots — and a state policy of tossing out ballots cast in the wrong precinct.
The 6–3 ruling in favor of Arizona was written by Justice Samuel Alito. Justice Elena Kagan authored the dissenting opinion and was joined by fellow liberals Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.
Alito noted that it was “easy” to vote in Arizona compared to many other states, going on to argue that its restrictions did not represent an undue burden on any voting bloc.
His decision indicated that election fraud represents a “strong and entirely legitimate state interest” since it “can affect the outcome of a close election” and “dilute the right of citizens to cast ballots that carry appropriate weight.”
“Non-discriminatory voting rules”
In further bolstering his case, the conservative justice highlighted a 2005 bipartisan commission report that specifically warned of the potential for fraud involving mail-in ballots.
The majority opinion addressed allegations that the laws in question violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination in election laws and practices.
“Section 2 does not deprive the States of their authority to establish non-discriminatory voting rules,” Alito concluded.
The outcome of this case was not really in doubt, as SCOTUSblog reported in March. Following oral arguments, it seemed clear that the majority would decide to uphold the policies that were initially defended by a district court but subsequently struck down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
After Democratic Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs refused to defend the state’s laws, Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich stepped up to fight for them. In response to this week’s Supreme Court ruling, he said: “Today’s verdict is a win for election integrity safeguard in Arizona. The Constitution allows states to implement commonsense voter integrity measures.”