Calling the right to vote “the cornerstone of our democracy, the right from which all other rights ultimately flow,” Attorney General Merrick Garland forcefully made clear his plans to have the Justice Department vigorously challenge the rash of restrictive-voting measures being passed nationwide by Republican-controlled state legislatures.
During a speech in the Great Hall within the Justice Department building, Garland said Justice Department lawyers within the Voting Rights division will be examining provisions in the voting rights act, the national voter registration act, and other existing laws to protect the right to vote for Americans. Garland left no room for doubt about the importance he places on voting rights.
“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.”
NOW: AG Garland throws down the gauntlet on voting rights: "Today I am announcing that within the next 30 days we will double the divisions enforcement for protecting the right to vote….
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) June 11, 2021
Merrick Garland: "The Civil Rights Division is going to need a lot more lawyers" announcing he will double it in 30 days & vigorously use existing laws including the Voting Rights Act, the Motor Voter Act, the Help America Vote Act & more to aggressively protect the right to vote
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) June 11, 2021
Garland says that he will double the number of lawyers for assistant Attorney General Kristin Clarke’s Civil Rights division to examine the 14 new laws passed across the country that Garland noted during his speech, make it harder to vote. The Justice Dept. will also scrutinize these new laws to determine “whether they discredit against black voters and other voters of color.”
Garland took aim at the widely-mocked post-election audit in Arizona’s Maricopa County, saying “disinformation” has led some jurisdictions to do voting methodology that threatens to undermine the overall election process.
The attorney general also criticized the 2013 Supreme Court decision that struck down pieces of the Voting Rights Act, which required states with a history of racial discrimination to get Justice Department approval before they could change their voting laws. The kneecapping of that law is seen by many as opening the floodgates for the types of restrictive voting legislation passed in Georgia and being considered in other states, like Texas.
If John Roberts had not gutted Voting Rights Act the voter suppression laws Merrick Garland is taking about in states like Arizona, Georgia & Texas would’ve been blocked in the first place
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) June 11, 2021