President Joe Biden has been an outspoken critic of efforts in Republican-led states to reform election laws in an effort to guard against possible fraud.
Now, the chief of his Justice Department is joining in on the chorus of leftist opposition to the GOP proposals, going so far as to threaten federal investigations and even prosecutions in response to possible voting rights restrictions.
“Laws that make it harder to vote”
According to the Washington Examiner, Attorney General Merrick Garland revealed this week that he planned to double the number of attorneys assigned to the department’s civil rights division.
Along with his threat to investigate Republicans behind voting reform measures in a number of U.S. states, Garland’s recent remarks came during a speech he delivered on Friday outlining his policies regarding the protection of voting rights.
He began with a brief history of the American voting system before turning his focus to more recent election reform laws that he described as overly restrictive, lamenting a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a 1965 provision that essentially granted the federal government veto power over state election laws.
“Since that opinion, there has been a dramatic rise in legislative efforts that will make it harder for millions of citizens to cast a vote that counts,” the attorney general said. “So far this year, at least 14 states have passed new laws that make it harder to vote.”
Garland went on to allege that “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.”
“We will not hesitate to act”
Offering a perfunctory promise to investigate and prosecute cases of actual voter fraud, he added that “many of the justifications proffered in support of these post-election audits and restrictions on voting have relied on assertions of material vote fraud in the 2020 election that have been refuted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies of both this administration and the previous one, as well as by every court — federal and state — that has considered them.”
The attorney general cited federal statutes in support of voting rights in making his argument for additional protections.
“We are scrutinizing new laws that seek to curb voter access, and where we see violations, we will not hesitate to act,” he added.
According to Garland, the Department of Justice is “also scrutinizing current laws and practices in order to determine whether they discriminate against Black voter and other voters of color,” vowing to “apply the same scrutiny to post-election audits, to ensure they abide by federal statutory requirements to protect election records and avoid the intimidation of voters.”
Of course, the state and local laws he and other Democrats disparage are proving popular among millions of Americans. As Axios reported in April, there were more than 1,000 election reform bills being considered, many of which would actually expand on existing voting rights.