Attorney General Garland to double staff to protect voting rights, targets new election laws in Republican-led states for scrutiny
“So far this year, at least 14 states have passed new laws that make it harder to vote,” Garland said in a speech on Friday. “Some jurisdictions, based on disinformation, have utilized abnormal post-election audit methodologies that may put the integrity of the voting process at risk and undermine public confidence in our democracy.”
Garland’s bid to push back against GOP-passed election laws comes after Democrats in Congress failed to push through a bill that would have counteracted the state legislation by expanding automatic voter registration, early voting and mail-in voting nationwide. It also would limit challenges by outside groups to voter eligibility.
The attorney general suggested that the Department of Justice (DOJ) may sue states over their election reforms. “We are scrutinizing new laws that seek to curb voter access, and where we see violations, we will not hesitate to act,” Garland said.
The DOJ also will scrutinize current laws and practices to determine whether they discriminate against non-white voters, Garland said. For instance, he said, non-white voters have to wait longer in voter lines in some jurisdictions.
“There are many things that are open to debate in America, but the right of all eligible citizens to vote is not one of them,” Garland said. “The right to vote is a cornerstone of our democracy – the right from which all other rights ultimately flow.”
Controversy over the US election system escalated after former President Donald Trump alleged that his defeat to President Joe Biden was caused by massive fraud. Despite efforts by Democrats, election officials and mainstream media outlets to dismiss those claims as “debunked,” a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in mid-May showed that 61% of Republicans and 19% of independents still believe “strongly” or “somewhat” that the election was stolen from Trump.
Nearly three in 10 Republicans even believe that Trump will be reinstated as president, according to another poll. And eight months on from the 2020 election, Republicans are pushing for more audits like the one currently ongoing in Arizona.Also on rt.com Almost 30% of Republicans believe Trump will be reinstated as president – poll
Garland said the DOJ will be keeping a close eye on such ballot reviews to ensure they abide by federal laws to “protect election records and avoid intimidation of voters.” The DOJ plans to publish guidance on the civil and criminal laws that apply to such audits.
“The Department of Justice will never stop working to protect the democracy to which all Americans are entitled,” Garland said.
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