• December 10, 2023

AG Garland Vows To Defend Voting Rights As The ‘Cornerstone’ Of American Democracy : NPR

US Attorney General Merrick Garland will hold an opinion on voting rights in the Justice Department on Friday. Tom Brenner / Pool / Getty Images hide caption

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Tom Brenner / Pool / Getty Images

US Attorney General Merrick Garland will hold an opinion on voting rights in the Justice Department on Friday.

Tom Brenner / Pool / Getty Images

US Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday defended the right to vote, which he described as the undeniable “cornerstone” of American democracy, and outlined a number of measures to protect those rights.

“There are many things in America to discuss, but the right to vote for all eligible citizens is not one of them. The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, from which ultimately all other rights emerge, ”Garland said during remarks to the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

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After former President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of stolen elections in 2020, many Republican-led parliaments across the country have tried in recent months to pass restrictive electoral measures that critics have argued are often often specifically aimed at racial minorities and disenfranchise the poor.

Garland noted that this year at least 14 states passed new laws to make voting harder. These states include Georgia, Florida, and Arizona.

“To meet the challenge of the present moment, we must devote the Justice Department’s resources to a critical part of its original mission: enforcing federal laws protecting the right to vote for all eligible voters,” Garland said.

As part of that mission, Garland said the Justice Department will double the number of electoral lawyers in the civil rights department and will scrutinize laws related to electoral law, including examining state legislation for possible disfranchisement against black voters and others the color.

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Garland also said the department will look into recent reviews of the 2020 state election results. The Justice Department did already expressed concerns on a GOP led ballot review in Maricopa County, Arizona.

The attorney general said his department’s ability to protect voting rights was hampered by a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that deleted an important provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Garland called on Congress to propose two bills on voting rights, which most Democrats support but are unlikely to pass.

As the country’s chief law enforcement officer, Garland also vowed to tackle disinformation campaigns that could deter people from voting, as well as issue guidelines on how states with postal votes should move forward – an issue that became a focal point of partisan divide during the race 2020.

“Almost two and a half centuries after our ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’ experiment, we’ve learned a lot about what supports healthy democracy,” Garland said. “We know that expanding the options for all eligible voters is the central pillar. This means that all eligible voters can cast one vote, that all legitimate votes are counted, and that every voter has access to accurate information. The judiciary will never cease to work to protect the democracy to which all Americans are entitled. “


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