Attorney General Merrick garlandMerrick GarlandHouse Democrats Push Garland For Immigration Court Reforms Jeff Hauser: McBride’s nomination marks a return to governments that have ended the “rule of law” and “rich accountability” GOP Senators are pushing Justice Department to close Capitol riot protest arrests compare MORE On Friday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it would double its voting staff while condemning a number of recently passed state laws and issuing a stern warning that the department would tackle illegal election restrictions.
Garland said the department will also take steps to limit gerrymandering while setting guidelines for postal and postal votes ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
“We are reviewing new laws aimed at restricting access to voters and if we find violations we will not hesitate to act,” Garland said during a speech in Washington. “We also review current laws and practices to see if they discriminate against black voters and other colored voters.”
Garland pointed to 14 “new laws that make voting harder,” including a Georgia law that made headlines for banning the distribution of food or water to waiting voters while imposing new restrictions on postal voting.
The attorney general said the DOJ needs to have “clear eyes” over a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that exempted an important provision of the 1965 Suffrage Act.
The provision gave the DOJ a preclearance entitlement that enabled the department to review proposed changes to electoral procedures in states with a history of racial discrimination in elections.
“Today we are again without any preliminary clarification. Again, the civil rights department will need more lawyers, ”he said.
The Ministry of Justice during former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ Seized House Democrats Data From Apple Iowa Governor Questions Missing Notification of Migrant Children’s Flights To Des Moines Senate Confirms First Muslim American Federal Judge MOREThe government did not hire a single outside attorney for the proxy division and left the division with only 15 proxy attorneys – about half the number the division occupied during former President Obama’s tenure.
A review of pending federal legislation by the Brennan Center for Justice found that a wave of bills with restrictive voting clauses warns that activity is surpassing other years and “the United States is well on its way to surpassing its final period of significant voters” . Oppression.”
Without prior consent, the DOJ must retrospectively challenge laws and use part of the law that prohibits discrimination based on race, skin color or belonging to a “linguistic minority group”. But it faces DOJ attorneys with a legal hurdle that can be difficult to clear and can delay laws as the department seeks to prove that a new law is discriminatory.
Garland pleaded with Congress to adopt new measures to strengthen the DOJ’s voting authority, though his demands are likely to fall on deaf ears.
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed a comprehensive voting law in March in line with party lines that would greatly improve electoral protection. However, it is unlikely that this bill will exceed the 60-vote threshold required in the Senate.
A narrower measure that John LewisJohn LewisBlack Republican Advocates His CBC Membership Manchin Insists He Support Voting – We’ll See Senate Democrats Get Confused By Joe Manchin MORE The Voting Rights Act, named after the late Congressman, would restore preclearance authority to the DOJ. But even it will not get enough votes in the Senate, where the Democrats have the smallest majority.
However, Garland said the department will use existing powers under the Suffrage Act and other legal agencies “to ensure that we protect any qualified American who wishes to participate in our democracy.”
The set of new guidelines promised by Garland shows that a DOJ is eager to fire warning shots at states as new electoral laws and legislative plans are increasingly challenged in court.
State legislatures are preparing to use census data to draw new legislative districts – the first round of maps to be discontinued since the DOJ lost its preclearance capability.
“We will publish new guidance to clarify the electoral protection that will apply to all jurisdictions when they redraw the legislative plans,” he said, adding that the department is also providing similar guidance “on early voting and voting by post” would issue.
Garland also targeted Arizona’s ongoing scrutiny of the 2020 election and other efforts, he said, to undermine confidence in the vote while relying on disinformation.
He said states can expect guidelines “that explain the civil and criminal laws that apply to post-election exams”.
“Much of the justifications put forward in support of these by-election reviews and election restrictions were based on allegations of material fraud in the 2020 elections that have been refuted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies of both this government and the previous administration, as well as any court – federal – and country level – that it took into account, ”he said.
The Attorney General also stressed that the DOJ’s Criminal Division had a role to play in protecting elections. Garland said threats against election officials had increased and promised that federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies would conduct “investigations and immediate prosecution” of criminals.
“We have not been blind to the dramatic increase in threatening and violent threats against all types of federal and local election workers, from senior officials to volunteer poll workers,” Garland said. “Such threats undermine our electoral process and violate a variety of federal laws.”