[WATCH] Garland Announces DOJ Will Double Staff to Protect Voting Rights

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) would be doubling its staff focusing on “protecting the right to vote” as states pass new voting laws. The detailed plan for protecting voting rights will also scrutinize new laws that seek to curb voter access and act if it sees a violation of federal law.

Garland announced his plan as Republican-led state legislatures push to enact new restrictive voting laws amid dwindling chances for sweeping federal voter protection laws introduced by Democrats.

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks about a jury’s verdict in the case against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, at the Department of Justice on April 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew Harnik / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“To meet the challenge of the current moment, we must rededicate the resources of the Department of Justice to a critical part of its original mission: enforcing federal law to protect the franchise for all eligible voters,” AG Garland said in an address at the Justice Department.

The DOJ will also scrutinize current laws and practices to determine whether they discriminate against nonwhite voters, he said. It was not clear how many people work on voting rights enforcement, nor what the total would be after the department adds to the staffing levels.

At least 22 new laws have been passed in more than a dozen states that make it more difficult to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a progressive public policy institute that is part of the New York University School of Law. Garland also said that the department was monitoring the use of unorthodox postelection audits that could undermine faith in the nation’s ability to host free and fair elections, adding that some jurisdictions have used disinformation to justify such audits.

“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 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,” AG Garland said.


Watch Merrick Garland’s announcement, below.

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