Published: Sun, November 06, 2016
Health | By Constance Griffith

US Supreme Court reinstates Arizona ballot collection ban

US Supreme Court reinstates Arizona ballot collection ban

A federal appeals court on Friday blocked a new Arizona law that makes it a felony to collect early ballots, a win for the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort shortly before Election Day.

The state of Arizona immediately sought a stay on the 9th Circuit's ruling that blocked the law, H.B.

The law in question is HB 2023, passed by the Legislature this year, which says only a family member, household member, caretaker or postal worker can handle another person's ballot.

"It is no secret that ballot collection and delivery has been particularly beneficial for Arizona's minority voters, and legislators who have not traditionally enjoyed broad support in those communities have repeatedly tried to restrict it", Democratic lawyer Marc Elias argued in his filing with the Supreme Court Saturday morning.

Friday's order from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sets the stage for a larger panel of 11 judges to hear the case again. Justice Anthony Kennedy referred the case to the entire supreme court, and the court issued a brief order overturning the appeals court ruling.

Be Civil - It's OK to have a difference in opinion but there's no need to be a jerk. "The [Dr. Allan] Lichtman report [that Feldman used as evidence] does not show how any historical racial discrimination caused more residential mobility or less access to transportation, which it claims are the background reasons for more minority voters than non-minority voters voting in the wrong precinct", Bea said. "That more minorities vote [out-of-precinct] than is reflective of their proportionate number in the electorate does not prove that the precinct vote rule denies or abridges their opportunity to learn of the locations of their precinct polling places or to get to them in time to vote", Circuit Judge Carlos T. Bea wrote.

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The plaintiffs - which included state and national Democratic parties and campaigns, Hispanic and Native American voters - argued that the policy hit minority and low-income voters hardest, since they were most likely to move between elections, among other problems.

Voters who have not are urged to do so, and the volunteers offer to take the ballots to election offices.

Friday's ruling opens the door for community activists to collect ballots and turn them in, a factor that could be key in a state with a number of close races, including Democrats' quest to oust controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Arizona law allows all voters to request an early ballot. Supporters said the law is needed to prevent voter fraud and protect the integrity of the voting process.

Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham said the law is constitutional. "Our court risks present chaos and future confusion in pursuit of an outcome the Supreme Court has explicitly told us to avoid". This is another case of the GOP playing games with people's votes and placing barriers in front of voters. "This commonsense law simply ensures ballot security in the state of Arizona and we're relived that there will be no changes to the law this late in the election cycle".

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