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Supreme Court Upholds Republican-Backed Arizona Voting Restrictions

United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld two provisions of Arizona voting law, one restricting the practice of ballot-harvesting and another requiring that ballots cast at the wrong precinct on election day be discarded.

Ballot harvesting is a practice by which a third party collects ballots from registered voters during an election. Arizona prohibits ballot harvesting except when the person collecting a ballot is a family member, caregiver, or election official.

Democrats have alleged that the Arizona law is discriminatory against minority voters. However, Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the Court’s majority opinion that there was not enough evidence to prove that either of the provisions caused discrimination.

“The plaintiffs were unable to provide statistical evidence showing that” the ballot-harvesting restriction “had a disparate impact on minority voters,” Alito wrote. “The modest evidence of racially disparate burdens caused by [the law], in light of the State’s justifications, leads us to the conclusion that the law does not violate” the Voting Rights Act.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote that the majority “founds its decision on a list of mostly made-up factors” in a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer. Kagan said the Arizona law in question “disproportionately affect minority citizens’ opportunity to vote.”

Arizona attorney general Mark Brnovich defended the state’s voting laws in the days prior to the Court ruling.

“There is no more sacred duty for a public servant than preserving both the people’s right to vote and their confidence in the election process,” Brnovich said in a statement. “Arizona’s ballot box safeguards are shared by many states, were recommended by a bipartisan commission, and are constitutional because they equally protect us all.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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