Justice Department escalates warning to states over GOP voting laws and election audits
The Justice Department on Wednesday fired a new round of warning shots against Republican-led state election laws and GOP-led 2020 election exams.
With the release of two new federal guidelines, Attorney General Merrick Garland made it abundantly clear that he is not easing the pressure after filing a high profile lawsuit against Georgia last month and taking action against the controversial Senate review of the upcoming Maricopa County's elections Arizona had threatened to publish a report that is expected later this summer.
The Justice Department said Wednesday that its two "guidance documents" would help "ensure that states are fully compliant with federal laws regarding elections," referring specifically to "federal laws affecting electoral methods" and "federal restrictions" related “Exams” after the elections. - which it kept in quotation marks. This came after President Joe Biden made a misleading speech in July comparing electoral changes in some GOP-controlled states to a "21st century Jim Crow attack" on democracy.
"The right to vote for all eligible citizens is the central pillar of our democracy, and the Justice Department will use all the authorities at its disposal to assiduously uphold this right," Garland said on Wednesday. “The guidelines issued today describe certain federal laws that will help ensure free, fair and safe elections. If such laws are violated, the Justice Department will not hesitate to act. "
The first memo says the Justice Department will review states that have reverted some voting laws to pre-COVID-19 pandemic.
“The department's enforcement policy does not consider the re-adoption of previous voting laws or procedures by a jurisdiction as allegedly lawful; Instead, the department will review changes to a jurisdiction's electoral law or procedure for compliance with all federal laws relating to elections when the facts and circumstances warrant, ”the document reads.
“Since the 2020 elections, some states have responded by making their COVID-19 modifications permanent; In contrast, other states have banned the continued use of these practices or placed additional restrictions on voting by letter or early voting, ”the DOJ said.
GARLAND CHARTS DOJ COLLISION COURSE WITH MARICOPA COUNTY ELECTION EXAMINATION
A DOJ official referred to the Georgia lawsuit when speaking to reporters on Wednesday.
“We didn't want to pretend jurisdiction or believe that jurisdictions should have a safe haven to say, 'Now that we ran our voting system like this before the pandemic, we can fall back on it even if we go that has a racially discriminatory effect. ' ... You should not assume that giving up practices that made it easier for people to vote is not under scrutiny by the Justice Department, "the official said.
The Justice Department announced a lawsuit against Georgia over its new electoral laws in June, with Garland claiming the electoral laws were written to restrict the voting rights of black Georgians. Georgia officials have defended the measures as a common sense defense against fraud and condemned claims by Biden that they were "Jim Crow 2.0".
Georgian Foreign Secretary Brad Raffensperger told the Washington Examiner in June that he believed the Biden administration would fail in its efforts to challenge Georgia's electoral laws.
"It is absolutely partial," said Raffensperger. "We are very confident that we will prevail against this progressive wing of the Justice Department."
Raffensperger argued that the need to restore confidence in his state's electoral system began long before former President Donald Trump's allegations of a stolen election in 2020, saying it dates back to the 2018 gubernatorial race. In this competition, the Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams refused to recognize this now. Brian Kemp beat them fairly, claiming he only won by suppressing votes.
"Stacey Abrams did not admit defeat in 2018, and that damaged their confidence in the elections," said Raffensperger. "[In] 2020 - the same thing happened on the other side of the aisle."
Kemp also condemned the DOJ's actions over the past month.
"This lawsuit is born out of the lies and misinformation that the Biden administration pushed against Georgia's electoral integrity law from the outset," said Kemp. "Joe Biden, Stacey Abrams and their allies have tried to force an unconstitutional seizure of power by Congress through elections - Now they are arming the US Department of Justice to enforce their far-left agenda that undermines the integrity of the elections and the federal government more in our democracy Gives power. "
On Wednesday, the Justice Department referred to a November statement by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and other electoral agencies saying the November 2020 elections were "the safest in American history." Former Attorney General William Barr said in December that "we have not seen any fraud to the extent that it could affect any other outcome of the election".
Biden defeated Trump 306-232 on the electoral college.
The second new DoJ memo focused on partisan audits. Maricopa County is running low, but the reviews, which have been heavily criticized as political and carried out by unaccredited third parties, could soon begin in earnest in other states, including Pennsylvania.
“An unusual second round of auditing has been conducted or proposed in a number of jurisdictions in the United States in recent months. These reviews would examine certain ballot papers, election protocols, and voting systems used to conduct elections in 2020. These exams, sometimes referred to as "exams," are primarily governed by state law. Under certain circumstances, the proposed tests may correspond to state law; in others they won't, "the memo says.
“In many jurisdictions there were automatic recounts or votes under state law due to the proximity of the election results. None of these state legislative narratives has produced evidence of misconduct or errors that cast doubt on the outcome of the national election results. "
The memo added that the DOJ "has a duty to ensure full compliance with all federal laws regarding elections," the Justice Department added.
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Assistant Attorney General Pamela Karlan, the United States Assistant Attorney General, sent a letter to Arizona Senate President Karen Fann in May, “regarding issues arising from federal law enforced by the US Department of Justice that arise Obtain the November 2020 exam required by the Arizona State Senate for the federal government ”. General Elections in Maricopa County. "
Fann said in a letter in reply that the GOP-led legislature had put forward plans to send campaigners into homes to inquire about turnout in the 2020 general election after the Justice Department said the effort might be intimidating to voters . Still, members of the audit team recently encouraged the state Senate to go ahead with the canvas to "know for sure if the data we're seeing is real problems".
The Arizona Senate this week issued new subpoenas to Maricopa County and Dominion Voting Systems officials, both of whom have signaled their intention to oppose the motions and documents from Arizona Democratic Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, related to the Have requested examination of the GOP-led chamber.
Georgia conducted recounts confirming Biden's victory in the state, and some efforts related to investigating the 2020 election results continued. A Pennsylvania GOP legislature asked some counties in the state to provide information and materials for an Arizona-style exam. Republicans in places like Florida and Wisconsin have also called for similar ratings.
"I think the reason we are putting this out as a guideline is to let the jurisdictions in general know that we are concerned that if they do these reviews - called reviews of these past elections - they will have to comply with federal law, and you will warn them that they cannot conduct these checks in a way that intimidates voters ... And in addition to the issue of intimidation of voters, our department deals with intimidation and threats against election officials, "a DOJ official told reporters on Wednesday.
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Tags: News, Georgia, Department of Justice, Merrick Garland, Joe Biden
Original Author: Jerry Dunleavy
Original location: The Justice Department escalated warnings to states about GOP election laws and election reviews
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