Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich praised a Thursday Supreme Court ruling upholding state election reforms and signaling how the court intends to rule on other similar cases.
“Today is a win for election integrity safeguards in Arizona and across the country,” Brnovich said in a statement. “Fair elections are the cornerstone of our republic, and they start with rational laws that protect both the right to vote and the accuracy of the results.”
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of Arizona and upholding two state election reforms enacted in 2016. One law criminalized turning in someone else’s completed early ballot with limited exceptions for family members and caregivers. The other law voids ballots that voters submit at a precinct other than the one they are assigned to.
Brnovich’s office outlined the history of the case:
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) challenged Arizona’s regulation of ballot-harvesting and limitation on out-of-precinct voting in 2016. The DNC erroneously claimed the measures violated the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and that the ballot-harvesting law was enacted with discriminatory intent. The U.S. District Court of Arizona rejected the DNC’s challenges after a full trial, but a majority of judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed those findings to invalidate Arizona’s laws.
Today, the justices strongly refuted the DNC’s claims stating, “…neither Arizona’s out-of-precinct rule nor its ballot-collection law violates §2 of the VRA.” SCOTUS further concluded: “Under our form of government, legislators have a duty to exercise their judgment and to represent their constituents. It is insulting to suggest that they are mere dupes or tools.”
The state attorney general’s office also said that the ruling may have a broad impact on similar court cases that spring out of an ongoing push by GOP state legislatures to reform election laws after the 2020 election. One case over such laws has already been filed in court by the Department of Justice against Georgia. Brnovich’s office said:
Approximately twenty states have some regulation of ballot harvesting. Ballot harvesting occurs when third-parties or political operatives go door-to-door and collect voters’ ballots. There are exceptions in Arizona’s law for family, caregivers, mail carriers, and election officials.
Additionally, the majority of states require ballots to be cast in the correct precinct. Requiring voters to vote in their assigned precinct furthers important state interests in administering the election free from fraud and ensuring voters get a ballot with the correct local races.
Brnovich sent a letter of support to his counterpart in Georgia, Attorney General Christopher Carr, last week, offering to do “whatever we can to push back against this blatantly political and unmerited attack.”
“Today, the fight has come to Georgia. Tomorrow, it will be in Arizona, and if left unchallenged, the DOJ will intimidate other states in an attempt to undermine the Constitution and force submission to the relentless will of the current federal administration. We must not be deterred by these threats,” Brnovich said. “As state officials, we must all stand together to defend federalism and state sovereignty against federal overreach.”
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