The U.S. Supreme Court has dealt a major blow to the Democrats’ hopes of thwarting election integrity laws in states ahead of the 2022 election. The highest court in the land ruled 6-3 to uphold Arizona’s laws, which essentially return the state’s election laws to the norm before the 2020 pandemic. Arizona’s new election laws regulate where provisional ballots can be cast and bans ballot harvesting.
“The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld two Arizona voting restrictions that a lower court had said discriminated against minority voters, a ruling that suggests that it will be harder to successfully challenge a spate of new laws passed by state legislatures in the aftermath of the 2020 election,” the Washington Post reported.
“Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote the opinion in the 6-to-3 ruling, with the court’s conservative majority in charge,” the report continued. “The court’s liberals joined an opinion by Justice Elena Kagan protesting that the decision weakens the shield provided by the Voting Rights Act (VRA), first passed in 1965 to forbid laws that result in discrimination based on race.”
Alito said that Arizona’s law generally makes it ‘easy to vote’ and he sided with the state’s election laws.
“In these cases, we are called upon for the first time to apply §2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to regulations that govern how ballots are collected and counted,” Alito wrote in his opinion. “Arizona law generally makes it very easy to vote. All voters may vote by mail or in person for nearly a month before election day, but
Arizona imposes two restrictions that are claimed to be unlawful. First, in some counties, voters who choose to cast a ballot in person on election day must vote in their own precincts or else their ballots will not be counted. Second, mailin ballots cannot be collected by anyone other than an election official, a mail carrier, or a voter’s family member, household member, or caregiver.”
The justice proceeds to discuss the Voting Rights Act and related lawsuits before rendering his opinion.
“In light of the principles set out above, neither Arizona’s out-of-precinct rule nor its ballot-collection law violates §2 of the VRA,” Alito states. “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’… On the contrary, these tasks are quintessential examples of the usual burdens of voting. Not only are these unremarkable burdens, but the District Court’s uncontested findings show that the State made extensive efforts to reduce their impact on the number of valid votes ultimately cast.”
Alito makes an interesting note that statistics have been manipulated in many cases to make misleading arguments that voter laws suppress minority votes.
“The Court of Appeals attempted to paint a different picture, but its use of statistics was highly misleading for reasons that were well explained by Judge Easterbrook in a §2 case involving voter IDs,” Alito states. “As he put it, a distorted picture can be created by dividing one percentage by another… He gave this example: ‘If 99.9% of whites had photo IDs, and 99.7% of blacks did,’ it could be said that ‘blacks are three times as likely as whites to lack qualifying ID’ (0.3 ÷ 0.1 = 3), but such a statement would mask the fact that the populations were effectively identical.”
The partisan left-wing media has nonetheless blasted election laws such as Arizona’s by erroneously arguing along these lines that they are intended to suppress minorities. However, there is absolutely no credible evidence that election integrity laws, including voter ID laws, suppress minority registration and turnout, despite this being a frequent media claim.
The latest comprehensive research shows that voter IDs do not impede registration or voting in any way whatsoever. The 2020 election also demonstrated through massive turnout in black communities that this is indeed a media myth.
A major study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research based on ten-years of voting data in the United States from 2008-2018 found that voter ID laws “have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation.” The study was conducted by Enrico Cantoni at the University of Bologna and Vincent Pons at Harvard Business School and was published in February 2019.
Furthermore, an estimated 95%-96% of all African-Americans already possess a suitable form of ID or can be provided IDs for free by various states. There is no valid reason why election security should be compromised on behalf of illegitimate claims that minorities are harmed by uniformly applied laws.
In June, Republican senators united to defeat the S1. “For the People Act” legislation with a 50-50 tie. The U.S. Senate requires non-budgetary items to receive 60 votes.
“All 50 senators in the Democratic caucus voted to advance the measure, known as the For the People Act, but with every Republican opposed, it fell well short of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster,” the Times continued. “Vice President Kamala Harris, who has taken a leading role in rallying support for the measure, presided as the legislation hit a roadblock.”
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.