Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Voting Rules, Including Ballot Harvesting Ban

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld two Republican-supported Arizona voting laws they say are intended to ensure election integrity.

The decision, delivered by a 6-3 court split on partisan lines, found that neither law violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and that they were not enacted with racially discriminatory intent. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the court’s majority opinion. Justice Elena Kagan led the liberals in dissent.

The laws require two things. The first is that a ballot be thrown out if it was cast in a precinct other than the one matching the voter’s home address. The second is a ban on “ballot harvesting,” a practice in which third-party carriers collect absentee ballots and deliver them for counting.

Alito wrote in his opinion that because the laws gave voters an “equal opportunity” to vote, they were not discriminatory. He criticized the dissent for taking another tack, which focused on the fact that after the laws were enacted, they had a “disparate impact” on minorities, many of whom were voting in the wrong district or participating in ballot-harvesting.

Alito warned that Kagan and anyone opposing the laws were advancing a “radical” project, in which the only thing that a state takes into account when making voting laws is “the size of any disparity in a rule’s impact on members of protected groups.” And while that is an interest, Alito wrote, it is impossible to make laws that will not have some effect on how many people of any particular group vote. (Read more from “Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Voting Rules, Including Ballot Harvesting Ban” HERE)

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