But Paul M. Smith, an attorney with the Campaign Legal Center, filed a brief support for the challengerThe lower courts would have worked out a reasonable framework to identify restrictions that violate Section 2.
“It is not enough that one rule has racially different effects,” he said. “This inequality must be linked to and explained by the history of discrimination in the judiciary. We hope the court will recognize the importance of maintaining this workable test, which is essential in curbing laws that weigh on black or Latino voting. “
The two lawyers defending the Arizona measures disagreed on what standard the Supreme Court should adopt to uphold the contested restrictions. Mr Brnovich, the attorney general, said the different effects on minority voters must be significant and caused by the attacked practice rather than any other factor. The Republican Party of Arizona attorneys took a tougher line, saying that racially neutral electoral regulations that normally burden voting are not subject to any Section 2 challenges at all.
Last year the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled that both Arizona restrictions violated Section 2 because they disproportionately disadvantaged minority voters.
In 2016, black, Latin American, and Native American voters were about twice as likely to cast ballots in the wrong district as white voters. Judge William A. Fletcher wrote for the majority in the 7-to-4 decision. The reasons for this included “frequent changes to polling stations; confusing placement of polling stations; and high housing mobility rates. “
Similarly, the ban on ballot collectors has had an overwhelming impact on minority voters who use ballot collection services far more than white voters, as they are more likely to be poor, elderly, homebound or disabled. Lack of reliable transportation, childcare and postal service; and need help understanding the voting rules.
Judge Fletcher added that “there has been no evidence of fraud in the long history of third party voting in Arizona.”