Supreme Court to review Arizona ‘ballot harvesting’ law

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Friday it will review a 2016 Arizona law that bars anyone but a family member or caregiver from returning another person’s early ballot. The law itself, however, remains in effect through the presidential election and until the justices rule.

A federal appeals court ruled in January that Arizona’s law banning so-called “ballot harvesting” violates the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution, but the court put its ruling on hold while the Supreme Court was asked to take the case.

The appeals court also found that Arizona’s policy of discarding ballots if a voter went to the wrong precinct violates the law. The court said both have a discriminatory impact on minority voters in violation of the Voting Rights Act.

The high court in recent years has weakened the Voting Rights Act, throwing out the most powerful part of the landmark law in 2013. It could use the current case to go even further.

The current case began when Democrats filed a lawsuit shortly after Republicans in Arizona passed the law making it a felony to return someone else’s ballot to election officials in most cases. Republicans argued the law was aimed at preventing election fraud.

The Supreme Court has already filled its argument calendar through November’s election, so the case won’t be heard until after that.

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