If there are two things the modern Republican party loves, it’s voter suppression and racism. Yes, yes I know the common refrain is “We’re just trying to protect against voter fraud!” but come on now. Luckily, a federal court has stepped in to prevent yet another egregious voter fraud law from continuing.
The Guardian reports that a ban on mail-in ballots implemented by Arizona Republicans is illegal as well as unconstitutional. The court found the ban to intentionally discriminate against people of color. This comes four years after Arizona introduced HB 2023, a law that made it a felony for third-party groups to collect mail-in ballots. Services like these were often used by Native Americans, a voting bloc where only 18 percent of registered voters have mail service at home. In its ruling, the court said “The adverse impact on minority communities is substantial. Without ‘access to reliable and secure mail services,’ and without reliable transportation, many minority voters ‘prefer instead to give their ballots to a volunteer.’”
This ruling also prohibits polling stations from throwing out provisional ballots from voters who were eligible to vote but may have shown up at the wrong polling station. The court found that Arizona discards more provisional ballots than any other state. Which, when added to the fact that minority voters are two times more likely to file at the wrong precinct than white voters, kind of sounds just a bit discriminatory.
Arizona has a storied history of implementing laws that are just straight-up racist (see: SB 1070) and it previously had to submit any changes to voting law to the federal government for approval. This would change after the Voting Rights Act was gutted in 2013. Republicans argued that this law was about maintaining the integrity of elections because if there is one thing the party of Trump cares about, it’s integrity.
Voter fraud is rare and the court backs this by saying: “No one has ever found a case of voter fraud connected to third-party ballot collection in Arizona.” As always, this was never really about voter fraud.