America’s top court just dealt a major blow to Democrats in Arizona who were hoping to strike down a pair of voting laws that they labeled discriminatory.
In a 6–3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week in favor of two Arizona laws designed to ensure integrity in future elections, one by tamping down on ballot harvesting, and another by requiring voters to cast their ballots in the correct precinct. According to Breitbart, the high court’s decision came down along ideological lines, with all of the court’s conservatives breaking with its liberal bloc.
A case out of Arizona
One of the laws at issue limits who can deliver a ballot to its polling place on a voter’s behalf. Under the legislation, it must be either the voter, a family member, or their caretaker, rather than a third party.
The idea behind the rule is to prevent third-party “ballot harvesters” from discarding ballots from voters who don’t agree with them politically.
According to reports, the other law requires election officials to discard ballots cast in the wrong precinct. The GOP-backed law is meant to ensure individuals aren’t able to vote twice; once in their own precinct, and once (or more) in another.
Democrats had said the laws would make it more difficult for voters, particularly those in minority communities, to cast their ballots in future elections. In their challenge to the legislation, those on the left argued that the laws violate the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 by putting an undue burden on voters, as NBC News reported.
But the Supreme Court apparently wasn’t buying it.
“Never been easier”
Over the dissents of the three Democrat-appointed justices on the bench, the high court’s six conservatives joined in an opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito that will allow the laws to stand.
In that opinion, Alito said that preventing potential fraud — the goal of the voting laws — is an “entirely legitimate state interest.”
“Fraud can affect the outcome of a close election, and fraudulent votes dilute the right of citizens to cast ballots that carry appropriate weight,” he wrote, according to Breitbart. “Fraud can also undermine public confidence in the fairness of elections and the perceived legitimacy of the announced outcome.”
With regard to the Voting Rights Act, Alito argued that “neither Arizona’s out-of-precinct rule nor its ballot collection law violates” it.
In a piece Friday, the Washington Examiner’s J. Christian Adams explained the importance of this ruling. “The damage to our Constitution would have been severe if the court had decided the other way,” Adams said. “It has never been easier to register to vote and to vote as it is right now. Today’s Supreme Court opinion doesn’t change that.”