(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Following President Joe Biden’s win over former President Donald Trump in the November 3 election, Republicans have sought ways to change election laws and began pushing for new voting restrictions.
More than 250 bills are being proposed in 43 states, of which sponsors say aim to stop fraud. However, the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan voter advocacy group, claims the bills will actually make it harder to vote.
Furthermore, civil right advocates say the bills unfairly target minority voters who tend to lean to the left.
The biggest fight is the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which bans racial discrimination at the polls. Section 2 of the act states that “denial or abridgment of the right of any citizen of the U.S. to vote an account of race or color” is illegal.
While that section has not been used during arguments at the Supreme Court, but they could come into play Tuesday when the nation’s highest court hears a major case to decide how new voting regulations hold up under federal civil rights law.
The case centers on two Arizona election laws, one of which requires election officials to discard any ballots cast in the wrong precinct while the other measure bans third-party ballot collection.
Democrats claim these laws discriminate against minority voters.
Arizona’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Democrats, finding the state discards out-of-precinct ballots in a way that “disproportionately affects minority voters.”
Republicans claim the law is not discriminatory and helps ensure election integrity.
More than 159 million Americans — or 66.8 percent of the eligible voting population — voted in last year’s presidential election, which is a record turnout. The historic number of voters was assisted by the availability of mail-in ballots.
80 percent of Arizona voters cast their ballots via mail or via drop boxes.