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WASHINGTON - Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota called Thursday's Supreme Court decision upholding voting rules in Arizona "yet another affront to Americans' constitutional right to pick their elected officials."

Republican Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota said the ruling, which lets Arizona throw out ballots cast in wrong precincts and limits who can collect and deliver absentee ballots, proves the high court thinks states know best how to secure elections.

The divided stands of Minnesota's congressional delegation mirrored the larger partisan fight over voting rights underway across the country.

Klobuchar, chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee, backs a set of basic federal guarantees that assure voter access to the ballot box across the country. She helps lead the fight to pass a comprehensive voting rights bill and is about to conduct hearings around the country to explain what she feels is at stake.

Emmer, chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee, favors states' rights to make their own rules. "The NRCC was proud to partner with the Arizona GOP to combat the Democrats' efforts to 'sue until blue,' " Emmer said in an NRCC news release Thursday. "Ensuring our elections are safe and secure is of the utmost importance. Today's ruling confirms that states are best positioned to make their own election laws to protect against Democrats' efforts to subvert the Democratic process."

These positions play out along party lines throughout the House and Senate. They could determine who controls the Senate and House in 2022 and the White House in 2024.

Thursday's Supreme Court decision presaged the stakes. Dozens of bills that make voting harder in the name of security have passed or are likely to pass in a number of Republican-controlled states. The new high court ruling let stand a pair of restrictions that will keep election choices of some legally registered Arizona voters from being counted based on technicalities.

Those technicalities — disqualifying ballots cast in wrong precincts and restricting who can collect absentee ballots — assume that voters may otherwise commit fraud. Republicans say they are integral to secure elections.

Democrats, who sued the state of Arizona, said that voter fraud is minimal and does not change election results. The Arizona technicalities, they say, arbitrarily and unnecessarily restrict the voices of minority voters.

"Ensuring every American can cast their vote shouldn't be a Democratic or a Republican issue," Minnesota Democratic Rep. Angie Craig said, while expressing disappointment with the Arizona ruling. "It's something that we should all be able to get behind."

Yet there seems to be little middle ground. The voting rights bills stuck in the Senate will remain stuck unless Democrats use their razor-thin majority to suspend a filibuster rule that requires 60 votes to stop debate on legislation.

Meanwhile, continued partisan gridlock leaves interpretation of election laws up to a Supreme Court where six of nine justices were nominated by Republican presidents. Three of the six-member majority were appointed by former President Donald Trump, who continues to falsely maintain that widespread voter fraud cost him re-election.

Whether the Trump appointees believe the former president's disproved claims, their Arizona decision turned on a question of discrimination, not fraud. The majority signaled its intent in the first paragraph of an 85-page decision explaining that it was "easy" to vote in Arizona.

The majority dismissed charges of discrimination against Black, Latino and Native American voters, saying that Arizona's voting restrictions were no more onerous for minorities than for any other group of voters.

What is left, said Democratic Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota, is legislative action.

"Today's decision makes it all the more urgent that Congress take action to secure our fundamental voting rights by passing the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act," Smith told the Star Tribune. "The Supreme Court has ensured that states will continue to pass discriminatory voter suppression laws that make it harder for the American people to elect a truly representative government."

Jim Spencer • 202-662-7432