In a speech Friday, Garland outlined a series of steps the Justice Department will take to protect every citizen’s right to vote, and within the next 30 days, the department said it will double the number of employees in the Civil Rights Division’s “enforcement staff for to protect the right to vote. “
“There are many things that are open to debate in America. But the right to vote is not one of them. The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, the right from which all other rights ultimately flow. “Garland said to a room with prosecutors inside the Justice Department’s great hall.
The Justice Department, he said, will investigate new restrictive voting laws across the country and take action against “violations.”
Garland said that since the Supreme Court since 2013 ruled that parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act were no longer valid, “there has been a dramatic increase in legislative efforts that will make it harder for millions of citizens to cast a vote that counts. “
This year alone, 14 states have passed controversial suffrage laws “and some jurisdictions based on disinformation have used abnormal post-election audit methods that could jeopardize the integrity of the voting process and undermine public confidence in our democracy,” Garland said.
By expanding the staff of the Civil Rights Division, Garland said “we will use all existing provisions in the Voting Rights Act, the National Voting Registration Act, the Help America Vote Act and the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act to ensure that we protect all qualified Americans seeking to participate in our democracy. “
Garland stressed a commitment to protect black voters and other voters with color, saying the department will “examine applicable laws and practices” to distinguish whether black voters and other voters of color have been discriminated against, even when it comes to that time. , Black voters and other color voters are waiting for electoral lists compared to white voters.
The department will issue “guidance on early voting and postal voting,” Garland said, and “the voting protection that applies to all jurisdictions when drawing their legislative cards,” as states begin the redistribution process by 2022 midterm elections, Garland said.
According to Garland, the For People Act, the Democratic Voting Rights Act, would “provide the House with the tools it needs” to preserve the right to vote.
Although Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he plans to bring the bill to the floor on June 21, the legislation is expected to be below the 60 votes needed to be passed, as it currently has no Republican. support.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson said the new tone set by the Biden administration is encouraging, but “it is a race against time and against those who are working to suppress our voices.”
It is unclear when the Ministry of Justice will file a lawsuit using its new efforts.
This story has been updated with further details.