The U.S. Supreme Court upheld two Arizona election laws on Thursday, ruling the voting restrictions did not violate federal law.
The 6-3 decision along ideological lines examined whether a group of Arizona policies violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was scaled back in 2013, The Hill reported.
One Arizona policy in Thursday’s case, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, 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 the privacy of casting ballots.
Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said a lower court made a mistake when it ruled the voting restrictions violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits racially discriminatory voting policies.
“Mere inconvenience cannot be enough to demonstrate a violation [of the law],” Alito wrote.
While minority and nonminority groups may experience different impacts of voting law changes, “the mere fact there is some disparity in impact does not necessarily mean that a system is not equally open or does not give everyone an equal opportunity to vote,” according to Alito.
The court’s three liberal judges wrote a 41-page dissent that accused the conservative judges of undermining federal voting protections.
“What is tragic here is that the Court has (yet again) rewritten — in order to weaken — a statute that stands as a monument to America’s greatness, and protects against its basest impulses,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote.
“What is tragic is that the Court has damaged a statute designed to bring about ‘the end of discrimination in voting.’”
President Joe Biden said he was “deeply disappointed” by Thursday’s ruling.
“In a span of just eight years, the Court has now done severe damage to two of the most important provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — a law that took years of struggle and strife to secure,” Biden said.
“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.
“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.
The lawsuit involving the Arizona policies was filed in 2016 by the Democratic National Committee and the restrictions were in place for the 2020 election.
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