- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday announced that the Justice Department would be scrutinizing a raft of new voting laws passed by Republican-controlled states in the wake of the 2020 presidential election.
Garland, in a speech addressing the Justice Department's role in the history of voter integrity, said that under his oversight in the next month, the department would double the number of attorneys in the Civil Rights Division investigating the protection of voter rights.
"We are scrutinizing new laws that seek to curb voter access, and where we see violations, we will not hesitate to act," he said, adding that the department will focus on laws that may target black and other minority voters.
Garland said that since the 2020 election, at least 14 states have passed laws that "make it harder to vote." In addition to investigating these laws, he said, the Justice Department will also look into audits that have been conducted after the most recent election.
"Some jurisdictions, based on misinformation, have utilized abnormal post-election audit methodologies that may put the integrity of the voting process at risk and may undermine public confidence in our democracy," he said.
Garland noted, however, that the Justice Department is committed to investigating instances of voter fraud when they occur. But, he said, many of the state laws passed and audits conducted have been based on evidence of fraud that has been "refuted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies of both this administration and the previous one."
Garland also said that every court, federal and state, has shut down allegations of voter fraud in the last election. Many new voter laws, he said, have little to do with actually protecting voter integrity.
"Many of the changes are not even calibrated to address the kinds of voter fraud that are alleged as their justification," he said.
Garland's announcement comes in the wake of a series of questions raised following the 2020 elections, which saw an expansion of early and mail-in voting because of the coronavirus pandemic. When President Joe Biden claimed victory over former President Donald Trump, many Republican-led states disagreed with the results and challenged them at the Supreme Court.
The court, in an unsigned order, slapped down a major case led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton shortly after the election. Justice Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito said that they would have heard the case.
In the months following, the court also refused to consider a number of other 2020 election lawsuits raised in states such as Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Thomas, after one of these cases was shot down, voiced dissent, saying that the court was in a unique position to calm fears about election integrity.
"By doing nothing, we invite further confusion and erosion of voter confidence," Thomas wrote. "Our fellow citizens deserve better and expect more of us."
After the failure of many of these cases, a series of states passed laws intended to tighten up elections in the future. There are more than 360 election bills under consideration across all 50 states, according to Axios. In addition, some counties in swing states, most notably Arizona, have been conducting lengthy audits of the 2020 election's results.
Garland said that these investigations are out of step with one of the cornerstones of America's democracy.
"There are many things open to debate in America," he said. "But the right to vote is not one of them."
Washington Examiner Videos
Original Author: Nicholas Rowan
Original Location: Merrick Garland targets new Republican voting laws after 2020 election