Supreme Court hears Arizona case with major future voting rights implications

The Supreme Court's decision will have major implications for future voting rights issues.

Updated: March 2, 2021 - 8:59pm

The Supreme Court is hearing a major voting rights case Tuesday that could allow state legislatures to change voting laws, with some concern a high court ruling could make it harder for people to vote.

The court concluded hearing arguments at midday and is expected to make a decision in June.

Many of the arguments between the Supreme Court Justices centered on perceived voter discrimination such as Georgia's prohibition of early voting on Sundays or forcing voters to vote in assigned precincts.

The legal battle centers around a pair of election rules in the 2020 presidential election battleground state Arizona. The court will debate two voting measures and whether or not they should be allowed.

The first measure, the out-of-precinct policy, discards ballots from those who vote in the wrong precinct. The second rule outlaws so-called "ballot harvesting" and allows only election officials, mail carriers, family or household members, or caregivers to return another person's mail-in ballot. Those who run afoul of the ballot-collection law face up to two years in prison and a $150,000 fine, according to CBS News.

"People who are poor and less well educated on ballots probably will find it more difficult to comply with just about every voting rule than do people who are more affluent and have the benefit of more education," Justice Samuel Alito said.

The court will also decide on section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which bars discrimination in voting procedures. The Supreme Court took out key provisions of the Act in 2013 which allowed local and state governments to not have to get permission from the court to change certain aspects of voting laws.

The Supreme Court will be hearing testimonies from GOP lawyer Michael Carvin and Arizona's Attorney General Mark Brnovitch, who first brought the case against the Democratic National Committee after two previous appeals to lower courts ranging back to 2016. The court also heard from a DNC lawyer who opposed the voting restrictions.


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