WASHINGTON – The US Supreme Court confirmed the voting restrictions in Arizona on Thursday in a decision that could make it difficult to challenge other voting measures implemented by Republican lawmakers after last year’s elections.
The court, with a vote of 6-3, reversed a lower court ruling ruling that Arizona’s limits on who can return early voting ballots for someone else and the refusal to count ballots cast in the wrong precinct does not they are racially discriminatory.
What you should know
- The case was an important test for what remains of one of the country’s most important civil rights laws, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which the Supreme Court amended in 2013.
- Thursday’s ruling said Arizona did not violate the Voting Rights Act when it passed a law in 2016 that allows only voters, their families, or their caregivers to collect and deliver a completed ballot.
- The court also upheld a state policy that requires election officials to discard accidentally cast ballots in the wrong precincts.
The federal appeals court in San Francisco had held that the measures disproportionately affected Black, Hispanic and Native American voters in violation of the historic Voting Rights Act.
Judge Samuel Alito wrote for a conservative majority that the state’s interest in the integrity of the elections justified the measures.
The Arizona Senate gave details of this decision on Wednesday.
The court rejected the idea that showing that a state law disproportionately affects minority voters is enough to show a violation of the law.
Disagreeing, Judge Elena Kagan wrote that the court was weakening the historic voting rights law for the second time in eight years.
“The tragedy here is that the Court has (once again) rewritten – to weaken – a statute that stands as a monument to America’s greatness and protects against its lower impulses. The tragedy is that the Court has damaged a statute designed to achieve ‘an end to discrimination in voting.’ I respectfully disagree,” wrote Kagan, along with the other two Liberal judges.
Electoral authorities thanked representatives of the three parties for their participation in the process.
The challenged Arizona provisions remained in effect in 2020 because the case was still making its way through the courts.
President Joe Biden narrowly won in Arizona last year and, since 2018, the state has elected two Democratic senators.
The ruling comes eight years after the superior court eliminated what had been the Justice Department’s most effective tool in combating discriminatory voting laws: a different provision of the voting rights law that required the federal government or a court will clear up the voting changes before they could take effect in Arizona and other states, mainly in the South, with a history of discrimination.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.