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The U.S. Supreme Court this week upheld Arizona’s ban on ballot harvesting and voting in the wrong precinct, and with it likely protected similar laws in other states. While there is much criticism claiming infringement of voting rights, the actual effect is protecting the power of legitimate voters.

In supporting the Arizona voting integrity laws, the justices split 6-3 along conservative-liberal lines. Arizona has a widely used early voting system that is accessible to anyone who receives mail. That was noted in the majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito.

The case was argued earlier by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who pressed it against the Democratic National Committee. Arizona defeated a DNC challenge during a trial in U.S. District Court. That verdict was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals, and then overturned again by the Supreme Court.

The decision comes as Democrats in Congress are seeking approval for legislation that would have elections nationalized, instead of being run by the states as they have been traditionally, something that is written into the U.S. Constitution.

The court’s decision cuts to the essence of the issue by saying, “One strong and entirely legitimate state interest is the prevention of fraud. Fraud can affect the outcome of a close election, and fraudulent votes dilute the right of citizens to cast ballots that carry appropriate weight....”

The Wall Street Journal called the decision the court’s “ruling of the year” and said it “shot down efforts to politicize the Voting Rights Act and saved federal courts from becoming super election commissions.”

Voting by mail was identified as having a potential for fraud years ago by a bipartisan commission that included former Democratic President Jimmy Carter. The Arizona laws make fraud more difficult to accomplish.

Voting is easy for everyone in Arizona. But the fact remains that it takes at least minimal interest on the part of the voter, and that includes getting the ballot in on time and to the proper precinct, which is printed on materials sent to the voter. And the best way for early voters, which now make up a majority in Arizona, is just to send it back in the envelope provided.

The election issue is often framed in terms of taking away people’s right to vote, but the Arizona laws merely guard against claiming a right to vote for someone else.

— Donovan Kramer Jr.

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