HomeAMERICASupreme Court sides with GOP and upholds Arizona voting rules Democrats called...

Supreme Court sides with GOP and upholds Arizona voting rules Democrats called discriminatory

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Reverend Debra Hafner, Pamela Wilson and Don Wagner Houston hold signs as activists rally in support of the “For the People Act” voting rights law before the US Supreme Court on June 23, 2021 in Washington.

Evelyn Hawkstein | Acesparks

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled 6-3 to uphold Arizona voting rules backed by Republicans that Democrats accused of unlawfully discriminating against the state’s Native American, Hispanic and black voters.

The case pertains to two Arizona voting rules that a federal appeals court found in violation of the Voting Rights Act, citing their disproportionate impact on minorities. In an opinion for the majority of the court, Justice Samuel Alito held that none of the rules violated civil rights law.

One of the measures, known as an “out-of-border policy”, disqualifies ballots cast in the wrong field on Election Day. The other measure, known as the “ballot-collection law”, forbids collecting and distributing ballots to vote to most people except family members. Republicans often refer to third-party ballot collection as ballot harvesting.

The Democratic National Committee challenged two measures under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires elections to be equally open to people of all races. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the DNC.

The full appeals court ruled last year that the out-of-bounds policy has had a discriminatory effect on Native American, Hispanic and black voters in Arizona. With regard to the ballot collection law, the court said that the circumstances “cumulatively and clearly revealed” that racial bias was responsible for its enactment.

“Identifying your own polling place and then going there to vote does not exceed the ‘normal burden of voting,'” Alito wrote. He said the perceived disproportionate impact on minority voters was “absolutely small”.

A lower court found that about 1% of ballots cast by Native American, Hispanic and black voters were entered in the wrong field on Election Day. For non-minorities, the rate was about half that.

“A policy that appears to work for the 98% or more of voters to whom it applies – minorities and non-minorities alike – is unlikely to open up a system disproportionately,” Alito wrote. .

On the ballot collection measure, Alito said Democrats had failed to show that the law had no effect at all. Even if the law has such an effect, it will not be enough to invalidate the law under the Voting Rights Act, he wrote.

Alito quoted from the 2006 case Purcell v. Gonzalez, in which the court argued that “a state unquestionably has a compelling interest in maintaining the integrity of its election process.”

“Limiting the class of people who can cast early ballots to those who are less likely to have covert intent prevents potential fraud and improves voter confidence,” Alito wrote.

The cases are formally known as Branovich v. Democratic National Committee, No. 19-1257 and Arizona Republican Party v. DNC, No. 19-1258.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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