SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Monday struck down two Arizona election laws, saying that they discriminated against Native American, Hispanic and African-American voters.

An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the laws by a 7-4 vote, ruling in a lawsuit filed against state officials by the Democratic National Committee and the Arizona Democratic Party.

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One of the laws required county officials to discard entirely any ballots cast in the wrong precinct, rather than partially counting the ballots by considering votes for statewide or regional offices or issues not tied to the precinct in question.

The other law prohibited the collection of vote-by-mail ballots by third party volunteers.

The court majority said both laws had the effect of burdening the voting rights of minority voters.

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Circuit Judge William Fletcher wrote, “The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy.”

The decision could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. A spokesperson for the Republican Party of Arizona, which stepped into the case to defend the law, was not immediately available for comment.

The Arizona Democratic Party said in a statement, “Today marks an important victory for all Arizonans. This takes an undue burden off of working families and people of color, making it easier for them to exercise their right to vote.”


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