The U.S. Supreme Court reached a verdict Thursday on a voting rights case out of Arizona — and Democrats aren’t happy with the outcome.
NBC News reports that the nation’s highest court ruled 6–3 to uphold two voting rules in Arizona that activists said violated the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The case out of Arizona
One of the laws at issue in the case says that only a voter’s family or caregiver to deliver a completed ballot to the polling place, according to NBC. The other law requires Arizona election officials to discard ballots accidentally cast in the wrong precinct.
The rationale behind the laws was self-explanatory: Arizona was looking to root fraud out at its source. But not everyone sees it that way.
According to NBC, Democrats in Arizona had argued that the provisions place an unfair burden on minority voters, a claim a federal judge initially rejected. On appeal, the decision was reversed by the 9th U.S. Circuit before the case ended up at the Supreme Court.
Split down ideological lines
The majority opinion in the case was authored by Justice Samuel Alito, who was joined in his stance by Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s other Republican-appointed jurists, including Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, according to Breitbart.
“One strong and entirely legitimate state interest is the prevention of fraud. Fraud can affect the outcome of a close election, and fraudulent votes dilute the right of citizens to cast ballots that carry appropriate weight,” Alito wrote for the majority.
“Fraud can also undermine public confidence in the fairness of elections and the perceived legitimacy of the announced outcome,” he added. “Ensuring that every vote is cast freely, without intimidation or undue influence is also a valid and important state interest.”
“Faith in the process”
In a statement Thursday, President Joe Biden said he was “deeply disappointed” by the ruling, which he said “undercuts the Voting Rights Act.”
“After all we have been through to deliver the promise of this Nation to all Americans, we should be fully enforcing voting rights laws, not weakening them,” the president said. “It is no longer just about a fight over who gets to vote and making it easier for eligible voters to vote. It is about who gets to count the vote and whether your vote counts at all.”
Republicans, meanwhile, are hailing the court’s latest ruling as a victory for election integrity. “I think it’s a great day for the Constitution, for the rule of law and for anyone that believes in voter integrity, and that’s really what this case was about,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, said of the decision, according to Breitbart.
“It was about what does the Constitution allow states to do, and can states enact common-sense election integrity measures? And the resounding answer is yes,” he added. “The reality is, regardless of who you are, we want to have faith in the process.”