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Voting rights: Attorney General Garland pledges to fight GOP efforts to restrict access to voting

In a speech on Friday, Garland described a number of steps the Justice Department will take to protect the right to vote of every citizen and, within the next 30 days, said the department will double the number of employees at the civil rights division “enforcement personnel to protect the right to vote.”

“There are many things that are open for debate in America. But the right of all eligible citizens to vote is not one of them. The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, the right from which all of them derive. other rights ultimately, “Garland told a prosecutors room inside the Great Justice Department room.

The justice ministry, he said, will review new restrictive election laws across the country and take action against any “violations.”

Garland said that since 2013, when the Supreme Court ruled that parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act were no longer valid, “there has been a dramatic increase in legislative efforts that will make it harder for millions of citizens to vote that counts. “

This year alone, 14 states passed controversial voting rights laws “and some jurisdictions, based on misinformation, have used anomalous post-election audit methodologies that can jeopardize the integrity of the voting process and undermine public confidence in our democracy, ”Garland mentioned.

In increasing the staff in the Civil Rights Division, Garland said, “We will use all existing provisions of the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act, the Help America Vote Act and the National Voter Registration Act. Uniformed Absentee Voting Act and Abroad to ensure that we protect every qualified American seeking to participate in our democracy. “

Garland underscored his commitment to protecting black voters and other voters of color, and said the department will “review current laws and practices” to determine whether black voters and other voters of color have been discriminated against, including understood with respect to time Black voters and other voters of color wait in the voting lines compared to white voters.

The department will issue “guidelines for advance and postal voting,” Garland said, and “voting protections that apply to all jurisdictions when they redraw their legislative maps,” as states begin the process. redistribution process before 2022. midterm elections, Garland said.

While he said the Justice Department does not wait for legislation, Garland reaffirmed the Biden administration’s vision for passing S1, called the For the People Act, as well as the advancement of John Lewis’s voting rights.

According to Garland, the For the People Act, the Democrat-backed voting rights bill “would give the ministry the tools it needs” to preserve voting rights.

Although Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he plans to present the bill to the prosecution the week of June 21, the legislation is expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to pass because it does not currently has no Republican support.

NAACP Chairman Derrick Johnson said the new tone set by the Biden administration was encouraging, but “it’s a race against time and against those working to suppress our votes.”

It’s unclear when the Justice Department will file a lawsuit based on its new efforts.

Electoral law expert Rick Hasen of the University of California-Irvine tweeted that there was not “much concrete action” in Garland’s speech. “But let’s see what the DOJ actually puts down in the coming months — this is the real test.”

This story has been updated with additional details.

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