23:45 GMT25 July 2021
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    The majority of US states allow voters to submit ballots through a third party for each election stage, but many limit the number of ballots that can be collected, while only allowing certain people to compile them.

    On Thursday, the US Supreme court upheld an Arizona law which will limit how absentee ballots can be returned by voters.

    According to US President Joe Biden, the ruling “undercuts the Voting Rights Act” of 1965.

    The law, which was passed in 2016, banned unions and advocacy groups from collecting mail-in ballots by voters to halt the controversial practice that critics call "ballot harvesting." Only family and household members, as well as mail carriers, have been allowed to collect voters' ballots as per the legislation.

    Another long-standing provision upheld by the Supreme Court on Thursday allows election authorities to scrap ballots submitted by voters in the wrong precinct.

    George W.Bush-era Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote the opinion for a 6-3 majority on Thursday in support of the Arizona law, which was debated in the Supreme Court from March. Associate Justice Elena Kagan wrote a dissent in the case. 

    The California-based US Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit found that these policies were disproportionately hurting Native American, Black, and Latino voters, prompting Arizona officials to appeal to the Supreme Court.

    Democrats maintained these communities of colour were facing voter discrimination in the state, highlighted by the laws in question, but the Supreme Court stuck to the legal provisions.

    The case came in light of widespread voter fraud allegations that have become political flashpoints during 2020 presidential election in the US. Donald Trump, who lost the election in the state by less than 11,000 votes, slammed the practice of ballot harvesting.

    Arizona remains one of ten American states where family members are allowed to return a voter’s ballot, while 26 states allow the voter to designate a third party to return their ballots.

    Tags:
    Absentee Ballots, Donald Trump, Arizona, United States
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