Arizona is one of those states, the challengers argue. It has a history of routinely changing voting venues in color communities and placing polling stations in those communities in confusing, hard-to-reach places. In addition, with no easy access to transportation, rural populations – especially Native American voters – rely on being able to collect their ballot papers for delivery.
Judge William Fletcher wrote for the majority of the Lower 9th Circuit Court when he put down Arizona law, noting that there has been a history of “frequent polling station changes, confusing polling station placement, and high housing rates” in mobility “in color communities, pointing out that the restrictions on ballot collection harm communities that are more likely to be poor, home-bound, disabled, without transportation, without childcare and postal services, or in need of more help understanding voting rules.” also suggests that “there has been no evidence of fraud in the long history of third party voting in Arizona.” This is a trend with restrictive electoral laws: Republicans cannot point out an actual fraud they are fighting, only potential future ones Scam.
In 2013, when Roberts wrote the majority opinion setting out the key phrase in Section 5 of the law, which specified which states with a history of discrimination must seek approval or clarification from the federal government before passing new electoral laws, he wrote that voters always have Section 2 as a remedy. Instead of protecting discriminated voters beforehand, he dismissed their concerns, saying they could be addressed after the fact. “Section 2 is permanent, nationwide and is not an issue in this case,” he wrote.
The late judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg disagreed. “Litigation does not arise until the illegal voting system has already been put in place and individuals have been appropriately elected, thereby gaining the benefits of tenure,” she wrote. “An illegal system could last for several election cycles before a Section 2 plaintiff can collect sufficient evidence to challenge it. And litigation is a heavy financial burden on minority voters.”
Now the scarce protection that Section 2 offers could be in jeopardy. Leigh Chapman, a Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights attorney who briefed the challengers, said that at least Section 2 compliance shows a government that values voting rights. “Particularly in the absence of Section 5,” she said, “Section 2 plays an essential role in advancing federal commitment to protecting minority voters and ensuring they have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process.” That makes it a special test for Roberts, given his earlier writings.
It’s also a test for Senate Democrats on the Filibuster. The For the People Act, which the House will be voting on this week, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act will expand and secure voting rights. The For the People Act would make voter registration automatic, help states secure their elections, implement impartial restructuring reforms, and establish higher ethical standards to combat the influence of dark money. The John Lewis VRAA would restore the Suffrage Act and update the formula used in Section 5 to determine which states needed preliminary clarification. The corrections Chief Justice Roberts said are needed to core the law.
To fight voter suppression, to fight the relentless march of Republicans towards anti-majority, white supremacist rule, the Jim Crow filibuster must go. Mitch McConnell and his Senate Republicans are not going to cast the 10 votes Democrats would need to pass one of these key bills. It is as simple as that. Judicial reform will also be required so that there are no federal courts willing to back Republicans, but that is a different story and a different challenge for the Senate.