New Setback for Voting Rights in the US from the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority backs two restrictive Arizona laws that penalize minorities. The decision does not bode well for challenging the wave of similar regulations that the Republicans are pushing.

Republicans won an important battle this Thursday in the grueling war that has gone on for years over voting rights in the United States, which hints at many more possible victories for them. The solid conservative majority of the Supreme Court upheld two restrictive regulations in Arizona, which had been denounced as disproportionately penalizing minorities when it comes to voting access and rights.

The biggest impact may come from outside the borders of the southern state. The decision of the six conservative justices who control the court alongside three liberals clearly bodes a bad omen for the demands from Democrats and civil rights groups, who are against similar laws being approved all over the country in states controlled by Republicans.

This conservative campaign to restrict access to the ballot box, which liberals consider to be clear attempts to suppress the voting rights of minority groups, has intensified since 2013 when the Supreme Court dealt a lethal blow to the Voting Rights Act, disassembling a central aspect of the regulation which has been prohibiting discriminatory laws on the basis of race since 1965. Republicans’ attacks are incessant and getting more intense. And this Thursday’s decision predicts that they will gain support from the highest judicial body in the country.

Specific Location

In the case of Arizona, the Supreme Court supports two measures. One allows ballots completed by someone who voted in the wrong precinct to be rejected, even though part of the votes do not require the voting to take place in a specific location. The other makes it a crime for campaign workers, community activists and almost any other person (except for family members, caregivers and election officials) to collect votes and take them to the ballot boxes. Liberals defend this practice as being particularly helpful for people who are from minority groups, are poor or have problems with mobility and access to transport or mail. On the other hand, critics, including ex-president Donald Trump, denounce it as “ballot harvesting,” although it has not been proven that its use has resulted in election fraud.

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