The Timaru Herald

Attorney General vows to fight new GOP-led state voting laws


Attorney General Merrick Garland on Saturday vowed the Justice Department would fight voting restrictio­ns and controvers­ial audits pushed by Republican state legislatur­es in response to former President Donald Trump’s falsehood-filled campaign challengin­g the results of the 2020 election.

‘‘We are scrutinisi­ng new laws that seek to curb voter access, and where we see violations of federal law, we will not hesitate to act,’’ Garland said in a speech from the Justice Department.

In response to legislativ­e action and audits, Garland said he was doubling the size of an office in the department’s Civil Rights Division and would push attorneys to scrutinise and possibly challenge a slew of laws recently enacted in 14 Republican-controlled state legislatur­es.

Republican­s say they are passing the legislatio­n to bolster public confidence in the voting process. But Garland, echoing the fears of voting rights advocates, asserted such laws actually ‘‘make it harder to vote.’’ Reports issued by voting rights advocates found that 14 states, including those in Georgia, Iowa and Florida, have passed 24 laws they say restrict access to the polls. Several Republican-led jurisdicti­ons have launched audits of vote tallies, which have drawn concern from voting rights advocates.

The Justice Department last month sent a letter to Arizona legislator­s raising concerns about such an audit launched by the Republican-controlled state Senate. Legal and voting experts have said the audit’s methodolog­y is flawed. President Joe Biden won the state by about 10,000 votes, the first time since 1996 that a Democrat carried the state. Trump has said without evidence that widespread fraud in that state and others cost him the election, claims that have drawn support for many Republican­s.

Garland criticised such audits and new laws for not addressing ‘‘the kinds of voter fraud that are alleged as their justificat­ion.’’ ‘‘Many of the justificat­ions proffered in support of these postelecti­on audits and restrictio­ns on voting have relied on assertions of material vote fraud in the 2020 election that have been refuted by the 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,’’ Garland said. – LA Times

 ??  ?? Attorney General Merrick Garland
Attorney General Merrick Garland

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