Voting Rights Challenged at Supreme Court as States Change Rules

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Voting Rights Challenged at Supreme Court as States Change Rules” – below is their description.

    Voting-rights advocates are worried as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in an Arizona case that could undercut the landmark law that’s protected the rights of minorities at the polls for a half century.

    Tuesday’s clash over the 1965 Voting Rights Act comes as Republican-controlled states consider a barrage of new restrictions that could make it harder for minorities to cast ballots in 2022 elections. It follows November’s presidential contest in which Donald Trump refused to concede and instead made baseless assertions of widespread fraud.

    And the case comes before a Supreme Court that, bolstered by three Trump appointees, has only grown more conservative since it nullified a key component of the law in 2013.

    “The court could decide this in a number of ways which could include weakening or limiting” the law, said Myrna Perez, a voting rights litigator at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice.

    The case centers on the law’s Section 2, a provision that’s now the primary tool for challenging voting laws as discriminatory. Section 2 took on heightened importance after the high court’s 2013 Shelby County decision effectively killed a separate section that had required some states to get federal clearance before they changed their voting rules.

    A federal appeals court invoked Section 2 to invalidate two Arizona policies as having a disproportionate impact on minority voters. The San Francisco-based court struck down a law that made it a crime for most people to collect or deliver another person’s early ballot, a practice critics call “ballot harvesting.” The appeals court also voided Arizona’s longstanding policy of rejecting ballots cast in the wrong precinct.

    In addition, the majority said the ballot-collection law amounted to intentional discrimination, violating both Section 2 and the Constitution’s 15th Amendment.

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