Arizona voting restrictions affecting minority voters violate the Voting Rights Act
WASHINGTON—This week, the League of Women Voters of the United States and League of Women Voters of Arizona filed independent amicus briefs in support of plaintiffs in Brnovich v. DNC, a consolidated set of cases that addresses the collection of ballots by third parties and the counting of provisional ballots cast outside of a voter’s designated precinct.
At issue in Brnovich v. DNC is Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting practices and procedures that discriminate based on race, color, or membership in language minority groups. Both the practice of casting provisional ballots outside of one’s precinct and the practice of third-party ballot collection are used disproportionately by racial minority voters in Arizona, especially Latinx, Black, and Native voters. Two Arizona election policies prohibit these practices, disproportionately harming the voting rights of racial minorities in the state.
“The 2020 election saw tremendous voter turnout across the country, with historic increases from people of color. Battling the risks of the ongoing pandemic, voters in these historically disenfranchised communities made sure their voices were heard in record numbers. Policies enacted to promote fair and equitable access to the ballot box, among them out-of-precinct voting and third-party ballot collection, made these increases possible,” said Dr. Deborah Ann Turner, board president of the League of Women Voters of the United States. “Some voters of color utilize certain voting options more than white voters, and this is exactly what the Voting Rights Act was designed to protect. The Voting Rights Act’s anti-discrimination protections were put in place to make sure no voting option could be eliminated based on the skin color of the people who use it.”
The League of Women Voters of the United States’s brief is coordinated and drafted by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and WilmerHale, along with 52 national, state, and local organizations.
The League of Women Voters of Arizona, joined by the Arizona Center for Empowerment, Chispa Arizona, and Mi Familia Vota, also filed a separate amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs. LWV AZ’s brief highlights the fact that income inequality and racial discrimination in education, transportation, housing, and health increase the odds that Latinx, Black, and Native voters will be disproportionately burdened by the state’s out-of-precinct and ballot collection policies. The League of Women Voters of Arizona is represented by the Brennan Center for Justice and Ballard Spahr.
“Arizona voters who live on Indian reservations rely on trusted volunteers to collect and deliver their ballots because they have limited and severely delayed access to the mail system,” said Pinny Sheoran, advocacy chair of the League of Women Voters of Arizona. “Once again, Native voting rights are under attack in Arizona. It is long past time that our state’s voting laws account for the reality of reservation life and ensure that Native residents have equal access to the ballot.”
Brnovich v. DNC is expected to be heard before the Court in March.
PRESS CONTACT: Kayla Vix | 202-809-9668 | [email protected]