Category: Supreme Court

Money Talks, Voters Walk

Money Talks, Voters Walk

Interesting contrast between 2 major Supreme Court decisions announced today. First in Brnovich v. DNC the court upheld an Arizona law which requires ballots cast in the wrong precinct be discarded and prohibits anyone other than immediate family, mail carriers and election officials from delivering ballots to the polling place.

Writing for the majority, Justice Alito acknowledged that while “every voting rule imposes a burden of some sort.” Arizona argued such burdens are needed to combat election fraud. A position Altio seemed to accept writing “one strong and entirely legitimate state interest is the prevention of fraud.”

Even when there is no such evidence of fraud because it’s important to maintain public trust in elections.

In the second case, AFPF v. Bonta, the court strikes down a California law requiring charities to disclose their donors to the state (not publicly). The court ruled that such disclosures are an unconstitutional violation of donors First Amendment rights. To me, the important consideration here is that over the last 10 years dark money groups have spent over $1 billion in US elections. Dark money groups are typically 501c4 Social Welfare organizations, groups which now have Supreme Court approval to spend unlimited money influencing elections from hidden sources.

Even though dark money spending undermines public trust in elected officials.

Is there seriously anyone that would argue that secret donors spending unlimited sums to get candidates elections is not corrupting on elections? The Supreme Court has ruled that it’s reasonable to apply limitations on voting to maintain election integrity, but apparently transparency for billions in political spending is asking too much.

The end result is we’re likely to see more “burdens” on voting and even more secret money in politics.

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