(Official Washington Examiner editorial, July 3) The Supreme Court’s six Republican-appointed justices were right on target on July 1 in upholding Arizona voting procedures challenged by the Democratic National Committee and other liberal interests.

Article 1, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution explicitly says that except when Congress specifically delineates otherwise, “the times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each state by the Legislature thereof.” The other exceptions to state authority on such matters come in the 15th Amendment and in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its successor renewals, all of which were enacted to protect voting rights from laws and practices with racially discriminatory intent (or, in some cases, with obviously racially disparate effects).

In Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, Democrats and their allies challenged two Arizona voting rules that are similar to rules in numerous other states. One rule bans the practice commonly known as “ballot-harvesting,” meaning the “collection” of early ballots by anyone other than relatives or official caregivers of the voters in question (elections officials and postal workers, of course, excepted). The other rule provides that a vote cast in the wrong precinct is not counted.

Both rules are intended to combat voter fraud. Neither rule places a significant burden on voters, especially in that state because, as Justice Samuel Alito noted in the second sentence of his decision, “Arizona law generally makes it very easy to vote.”…. In sum, the court adopted the PLF’s conclusion that “neither policy imposes a racially discriminatory burden on voting. And neither policy deprives any Arizona voter of the equal opportunity to cast a legal ballot.” …. Indeed, the “times, places, and manner” rule is so explicit, and the historical commonness and neutral applicability of Arizona’s rules so obvious, that it’s a near-scandal intellectually that the Supreme Court’s decision in the state’s favor wasn’t unanimous. ….

[The full column is at this link.]


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