By Ascari Bryant, Elizabeth Garabedian, Anika Khubchandani, and Joseph Shepard
WASHINGTON DC – The League of Women’s Voters of the U.S. joined an amicus brief this past week in the U.S. Supreme Court Case Brnovich v. DNC, whose ruling threatens the voting rights of minority citizens.
The Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in Brnovich v. DNC now prohibits “third-party ballot collection” and “the counting of provisional ballots cast outside of a voter’s designated precinct” in Arizona. These voting practices are “used disproportionately by racial minority voters in Arizona, especially Latinx, Black, and Native voters.”
Pinny Sheoran, advocacy chair of the League of Women’s Voters of Arizona, explains how Arizona voters who inhabit Indian reservation land have “limited and severely delayed access to the mail system.”
In consequence, they depend on “trusted volunteers to collect and deliver their ballots.” Now, the Court’s ruling threatens their ability to vote.
Up until the 2016 presidential election, “voters who cast early ballots primarily used third parties to collect and deliver their ballots.” Although there was no evidence that the use of third parties for ballot collection and drop off was connected to voter fraud, Republican legislators criminalized this method used to cast ballots.
As a result, there have been many legislative attempts across states to restrict voting rights and access for minority citizens.
The main question is whether this ruling violates Section 2 of The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which “prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.”
According to the CEO of the League of Women’s Voters of the U.S., Virginia Kase Soloman, the Supreme Court’s ruling is a “devastating blow to our democracy” and “takes us down a harmful path” of increasing disenfranchisement.
She urges Congress to “act quickly to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act” to establish national voting standards and protect the voices of all citizens.
She continued, only then can the United States begin to “repair the extreme damage to the freedom to vote and build a stronger and more inclusive democracy.”