Ballot Watch: States target voting rights

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer reports on the unprecedented wave of state election laws aimed at restricting voting rights after many states loosened restrictions in 2020 amid the pandemic.
8:11 | 03/03/21

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Transcript for Ballot Watch: States target voting rights
Rob the past year we have reported extensively on all the changes of voting in America because of the pandemic and because of our politics tonight we're bringing back our series ballot watched because there is an unprecedented new wave of state election laws on the rise and she aimed at making it harder to vote and today the Supreme Court the justices heard a major case that could make it harder to challenge restrictions in the years ahead. Here's our Devin Dwyer. Today if the Supreme Court a major showdown over voting rights as Arizona Republicans defend to state laws that limit how ballots are cast. These measures are designed to provide water and a security elections. And provide confidence in the results one measure requires election officials to throw out votes cast in the wrong precinct another bans the practice of third party ballot collection. We're allowing someone else to turn in your absentee ballot for you. To Austin's a fundamental issue right vs wrong it's all the integrity. There's no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Arizona where 80% of voters in 20/20 cast ballots early. Democrats say the real purpose is to make it harder for minorities to vote. People have less access to Mayo went in drag getting out back there's a big deal or somebody who lives in rural community where you. You're suddenly I'm miles from. I that you shared the budget under at least as hard and I and that's a whole different story. Section two of the voting rights act of 1960 five's his loss which result in a denial or bridge met the right of any US citizen to vote. An account of race or color are illegal. The provision has never been tested at the High Court but eight years ago a hostile conservative majority effectively guided a separate part of the law. One that required states with a history of racial discrimination to pre clear election rule changes with the Justice Department. A court need to send a strong statement. That the voting rights act we will be there were the American public especially at a time when we see politicians in the state. Trying to put barriers in front out ox Republican lawmakers and at least 43 states are considering more than 250. Proposed bills that would make it harder to vote what do they do they do things like restrict access to vote by mail. Impose stricter photo identification lost a slash voter registration opportunities. And they aggressively purge voters from many of the measures target early voting which exploded in popularity during 20/20 Amadou stork torn out. Thirty states made it easier to vote by mail because of the pandemic. But now at least 24 states are considering measures to steal it back in future elections. Horrible lose all or all voters lose nurture or review said within that subset. You would see that it is almost inevitably ignite either or orders. Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias says the tidal wave of new laws reflects former president trumps a lie that the election Hugh lost was rigged. They are restricting voting arts not just. States they are doing it in red states as well and and is that reason that I shall confident that this is an art show and you'll you two don't want us. As it is anything else. We must pass comprehensive election reforms. And we must do it now. Astro prods his allies Republican controlled state legislatures have been moving quickly. In Iowa Republicans are sent the governor a bill to slash their early voting period by nine days in impose tighter deadlines on mail in ballots. The fact of the matter is there are Americans across this state that have some concerns about what happened in this act last. Election. Or. Georgia which help decide the presidential race in gave Democrats control the US senate protests as Republicans advances sweeping crackdown. Now all Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly are trying to change the rules of the election here in Georgia. Rules that you rob because you Wear hey did you see in November the third and again on Jaron. House bill 531. Is designed to begin to bring back the confidence. Around voters back into our election system. They want to restrict placement of ballot Dropbox is cut hours for early voting on weekends require photo ID to vote by mail. Murder people who have a driver's license privilege. Or maybe that's no big deal have to do you. For somebody who doesn't have his license that they have a legend who are in need these measures being on it you know regeneron. Mostly hurt really don't election more secure. Even if you set aside. In addition little and are. There there's nothing makes election Morse shore by. Stating that. The election it's shorter more than. Half of all voters believe it's 120 election was secure to view shared by the trump Justice Department and dozens of federal judges. Still nearly three in four Republicans disagree. How do you. Restore confidence at the electorate from senate Republicans did it any thought or why. Not it is that it question. I think the real challenge for democracy and lower. Beyond laws and lawsuits. Is how do we get to a place in which both political parties agree. That we hold insure old fair reflection in Arizona attorney general mark. Burn a bitch says the answer is in the rule of law look I'm a first generation American. I understand how important. The deal symbolically. Emotionally. On and practically. A right to notice you want to make sure that everyone is competence of the results. And no one can go around saying that somehow there were some shenanigans or something or somebody was disenfranchised. And Devin Dwyer joins me now DeVon you covered today's Supreme Court arguments. Over Arizona's election laws and I know you're so good at reading the legal tea leaves what did we learn about just how the justices might rule. But do you it seems likely that the court's conservatives while actually uphold those two Arizona laws the one. On out of precinct voting in the ban on ballot collection justice. And since a bipartisan commission in 2005 actually found some legitimate concerns for about collection. He said there are reasonable race neutral justifications for Balkan. Course even a Biden administration surprising to many people wrote a letter to the Supreme Court said that he didn't think. These two Arizona laws violated the voting rights act but the big question is how will the justices write this opinion. What sort of cast will though they create for figuring out win loss due out constitute racial discrimination. That's the big concern and tonight GG democrats' civil rights advocates are very nervous. That this conservative majority on the court will make it harder to challenge election laws in the future. Fastening DeVon been even as we wait for this decision in the house tomorrow is expected to pass a sweeping package of new voting reforms backed by Democrats what that accomplish and and what do you think the Republicans will say. As backlash. And he even as all of those state restrictions are in the pipeline there on the horizon Democrats tomorrow in the house. Will vote to pass this sweeping deal at 800 pages juju it's called before the people act. Of 20/20 one and major democratic priority and it would set some national standards for voting it would mandate automatic voter registration. It would expand voting by mail mandate drop boxes in certain places in fact the deal wouldn't mandate. Two weeks of early voting in every single state. As you alluded to Republicans are opposed to this they say it just favors Democrats politically. And that's why ginger if he's a very long odds in the senate with that razor thin majority. The Democrats tonight saying they're gonna fight for their change of clearly the lines are drawn thanks to you them into our.

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