Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Law Stopping Ballot Harvesting and Mail-In-Ballot Fraud

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 1, 2021   |   12:04PM   |   Washington, DC

In a huge victory for election integrity protecting the rights of pro-life voters nationwide, the Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s voting law that cracks down on ballot harvesting and takes aim at mail-in ballot fraud.

The nation’s highest court, on a 6-3 vote turned back a challenge to the law from the Democratic National Committee and it ruled that the reforms in Arizona’s law do not violate the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Thomas, and Barrett sided with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, while Justices Kagan, Breyer, and Sotomayor said that the law violates the VRA and agreed with Democrats.

SCOTUS upheld two Arizona voting provisions: a ban on so-called “ballot harvesting,” and a policy that throws out an entire ballot if it was cast in the wrong precinct. Challengers argued that both provisions discriminate against minority voters.

Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett. Justice Kagan dissented and was joined by Breyer and Sotomayor.

Justice Alito wrote: “[W]e think it prudent to make clear at the beginning that we decline in these cases to announce a test to govern all VRA §2 claims involving rules, like those at issue here, that specify the time, place, or manner for casting ballots.”

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“The present dispute concerns two features of Arizona voting law, which generally makes it quite easy for residents to vote. All Arizonans may vote by mail for 27 days before an election using an ‘early ballot,’” Justice Alito wrote for the majority opinion.

He continued: “The regulations at issue in this suit govern precinct based election-day voting and early mail-in voting. Voters who choose to vote in person on election day in a county that uses the precinct system must vote in their assigned precincts. If a voter goes to the wrong polling place, poll workers are trained to direct the voter to the right location…In light of the principles set out above, neither Arizona’s out-of-precinct rule nor its ballot-collection law violates [section 2] of the VRA. Arizona’s out-of-precinct rule enforces the requirement that voters who choose to vote in person on election day must do so in their assigned precincts. Having to identify one’s own polling place and then travel there to vote does not exceed the ‘usual burdens of voting.’”

Brnovich said that the court’s decision is a win for election integrity in Arizona and nationwide.

“I am thankful the justices upheld states’ ability to pass and maintain commonsense election laws, at a time when our country needs it most,” he said.

Big win for election integrity today. #SCOTUS justices ruled states have authority to pass and maintain laws that prevent voter fraud and safeguard election integrity, such as our protections regarding ballot harvesting and out-of-precinct voting here in Arizona,” he added on Twitter.

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel celebrated the ruling.

“Today’s United States Supreme Court ruling is a resounding victory for election integrity and the rule of law. Democrats were attempting to make Arizona ballots less secure for political gain, and the Court saw right through their partisan lies. In Arizona and across the nation, states know best how to manage their own elections,” McDaniel said in a release. “The RNC is proud to have worked closely with the Arizona GOP to support this historic victory, and we will continue our comprehensive efforts to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”