It’s a reflection of a widespread belief among Republican officials that high voter turnout hurts their chances of winning elections. They may be wrong about that: As the Republican Party has become more working class, it has attracted many supporters who vote only occasionally.
Still, Republican candidates will probably benefit from any changes that disproportionately affect Black and Latino voters, like the elimination of automatic registration. “The restrictions we’re seeing are going to have a greater impact on the communities that have been most traditionally disadvantaged,” says Myrna Pérez, a voting rights expert at the Brennan Center.
Democrats, along with any Republicans and independents who favor wider voting access, have three possible ways to respond. One of those three will be on display today at the Supreme Court.
‘The last place you want to be’
The court will hear a case from Arizona in which Democratic officials are challenging two state provisions. One requires the disposal of any ballots cast at the wrong precinct, and another forbids people — like church leaders or party organizers — to collect absentee ballots for submission. The Democrats argue that these provisions especially affect minority voters and thus violate the Voting Rights Act. (Adam Liptak, The Times’s Supreme Court reporter, explains in more depth here.)
The Arizona lawsuit is an example of a main way that advocates have tried to protect voting rights over the past few decades: through the courts. Along the way, they have won some victories, including in a recent case from North Carolina.