Supreme Court upholds Arizona voting restrictions in 'a sign of what's to come'

Supreme Court
(Image credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court has upheld voting restrictions in Arizona, ruling two laws don't violate the Voting Rights Act.

In a 6-3 decision, the court upheld an Arizona policy requiring ballots to be tossed if they're cast in the wrong precinct, as well as a law that only voters, their family members, or their caregivers may deliver ballots, NBC News reports. Critics argued the laws disadvantaged minority voters. The majority opinion was written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

"Arizona's out-of-precinct policy and HB 2023 do not violate [Section 2] of the VRA, and HB 2023 was not enacted with a racially discriminatory purpose," the court said.

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Alito also wrote that "mere inconvenience cannot be enough to demonstrate a violation" of the law, and that "the mere fact there is some disparity in impact does not necessarily mean that a system is not equally open or does not give everyone an equal opportunity to vote." The court declined to "announce a test to govern all VRA [Section 2] challenges to rules that specify the time, place, or manner for casting ballots," Alito wrote, per NPR.

The court's ruling was a "sign of what's to come," Axios wrote, as it could be "paving the way for new limitations across the country." The ruling also suggested, The New York Times wrote, that "challenges to new state laws making it harder to vote would face a hostile reception from a majority of the justices," and law professor Rick Hasen told NBC, "This significantly dilutes the Voting Rights Act. Minority groups will now have to meet a much higher standard beyond showing that a change presents a burden to voting."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.