Supreme Court reviews Arizona ballot-harvesting law

The US Supreme Court on Friday said it would review a 2016 Arizona law that prohibits anyone or any family member from returning the initial ballot to another person.

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In January, a federal appeals court ruled that Arizona’s law bans so-called “voting harvesting”, violating the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution. Any action has been stayed until the Supreme Court decides on the matter. Its new term is starting next week.

The appeals court also found that Arizona violated the ballot dropping policy if the voter went to the wrong motion, arguing both measures would have a discriminatory effect on minority voters.

(AP Photo / Gerry Broome, File)

The harvesting case began with Democrats suing a law passed by Arizona Republicans that in most cases committed a felony to return someone else’s ballot to election officials.

Both parties had used ballot boxes to promote voting during elections – asking voters if they had completed their mail-in ballot.

Democrats, who found success in minority communities, said Republicans introduced the measure because of its achievements, while Republicans said the legislation was aimed at preventing election fraud. It remains in force till the Supreme Court rules come into force.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Republicans wrote in a statement that he is happy that the High Court will hear the case.

The eight justices will not return to court to hear arguments in person due to the coronovirus epidemic, but will attend on the telephone.

In recent years, the Supreme Court – closed to the public since March – has weakened the Voting Rights Act, the Associated Press reported. In 2013, judges invalidated a major part of the law, allowing nine states to change their election laws without federal approval.

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“Our country has changed,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “While any racial discrimination is too high in voting, Congress should ensure that this law is passed to address existing problems.”

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