July 25, 2021

US Supreme Court Validates Restrictive Arizona Election Laws

The Supreme Court of the United States validated, Thursday 1is July, controversial election laws in the state of Arizona, a decision that could affect access to the right to vote for minorities, a stake in political struggles in the country.

These are two limited-scope laws passed by the Arizona Republican majority. One prohibits entrusting one’s early voting ballot to a third party so that it can be deposited in a polling center, if it is not a close family member. The other disqualifies the ballots deposited in an office different from the one in which the voter is registered.

Arizona laws do create a “Disparity in the participation rate”, including Native Americans on reserves, the Supreme Court has recognized. “But the mere fact that there is a gap does not always mean that the system is not open”, wrote conservative judge Samuel Alito, on behalf of the majority.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also In the United States, the Republican Party buries a bill to facilitate the votes

A judgment that “undermines” the law, according to Joe Biden

The six conservative judges of the Court have indeed justified their decision by the need to fight against electoral fraud. Their three progressive colleagues have dissociated themselves, denouncing a judgment “Tragic” who “Abyss” the « Voting Rights Act » of 1965. This landmark text aimed to put an end to the laws which, for years, kept black voters away from the polls in the southern United States, under the pretext of literacy or general culture tests. .

In 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated a first part of the text which required the former segregationist states to obtain the green light from the federal government before adopting any new electoral regulations. She tackled Thursday the second part of the law, which prohibits the adoption of any rule that has the effect of limiting access to the vote of a minority group, even if the discrimination is not written in black and white, or intentional.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also The Supreme Court, disputed arbiter of American discords

Democratic President Joe Biden said to himself “Deeply disappointed” by this judgment which, according to him, “Sape” the emblematic law on the right to vote. The court’s three progressive judges also strongly disagreed. “It is tragic that the Court again weakens a law which is a monument in America” who “Protects her from her low instincts”, wrote on their behalf the magistrate Elena Kagan.

Consequence of Donald Trump’s accusations

The political stake is strong: in the United States, the minorities vote mainly for the democratic party. During the presidential election, the mobilization of black voters played a major role in the victory of Joe Biden. For outgoing President Donald Trump, the election was thus “Rigged” in particular because of the massive use of advance polls. Even if he has provided no evidence to support his accusations, Republican elected officials from several states have since January tightened their electoral laws in the name of the fight against fraud.

For Democrats, the new restrictions have the effect of making it more difficult for minorities to access the ballot box. They have taken legal action to invalidate these laws, the Ministry of Justice itself having seized the courts against a text from Georgia. But this decision of the Supreme Court today complicates the chances of success of these appeals.

“This makes it all the more necessary to fight for adoption in Congress” of a law protecting the right to vote, estimated Joe Biden, while the Republican senators have just blocked the passage of a text in this direction. “Democracy is at stake”, he said again, denouncing “An assault on civil rights”.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also The Cracks of American Democracy, Episode 4: The “Black Vote” Faced with Persistent Obstacles

The World with AFP