President Joe Biden said he was “deeply disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday that upheld an Arizona law that banned ballot harvesting.
“I am deeply disappointed in today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court that undercuts the Voting Rights Act, and upholds what Justice [Elena] Kagan called ‘a significant race-based disparity in voting opportunities,'” Biden said in a statement.
“After all we have been through to deliver the promise of this Nation to all Americans, we should be fully enforcing voting rights laws, not weakening them.”
He added, “Yet this decision comes just over a week after Senate Republicans blocked even a debate — even consideration — of the For the People Act that would have protected the right to vote from action by Republican legislators in states across the country.”
The Democratic president was responding to a 6-3 ruling by the Supreme Court that examined whether a group of Arizona electoral policies violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965, The Hill reported.
One Arizona policy in Thursday’s case required provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct to be discarded, which lawyers for the state said would help prevent multiple voting.
The second made it illegal for most third parties, with the exception of family members or caregivers, to collect and deliver a completed ballot. State lawyers said they sought to prohibit such instances of “unlimited third-party ballot harvesting” to protect voters’ privacy and prevent fraud.
Biden, however, claimed such policies are undemocratic.
“While this broad assault against voting rights is sadly not unprecedented, it is taking on new forms,” the president said in his statement.
“It is no longer just about a fight over who gets to vote and making it easier for eligible voters to vote. It is about who gets to count the vote and whether your vote counts at all.”
Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said states such as Arizona have a legitimate interest in trying to eliminate chances for voter fraud.
“Fraud can affect the outcome of a close election, and fraudulent votes dilute the right of citizens to cast ballots that carry appropriate weight,” Alito said.
“Fraud can also undermine public confidence in the fairness of elections and the perceived legitimacy of the announced outcome.”
The court’s ruling broadly reveals that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has limited power to combat voting restrictions.
Biden responded that his administration will continue “to raise the urgency of the moment and demand that our democracy truly reflects the will of the people and that it delivers for the Nation.”
The president and other Democrats have pushed for legislation that would “interfere with the ability of states and their citizens to determine the qualifications and eligibility of voters, to ensure the accuracy and validity of voter registration rolls, to secure the integrity of elections, and to participate and speak freely in the political arena,” according to Hans A. von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is among the Republicans who have fought the effort.
“Democrats call this bill the For the People Act, or HR 1, but a more appropriate name would be the Corrupt Politicians Act because it’s designed by the politicians, of the politicians, and for the politicians,” Cruz wrote in March.
“This bill is not designed to protect the right to vote,” the senator said. “Instead, it’s a dangerous and brazenly partisan power grab designed by the Democrats to corruptly turn their current razor-thin majority into a much larger and permanent majority so they can enact the Green New Deal and other items on their deeply unpopular progressive wish list. And allowing millions of illegal voters to cast votes robs you of your constitutional right to vote.”
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