The US Justice Department announced a crackdown on voting discrimination Friday amid a Republican attempt to tighten poll laws that is broadly seen as geared toward Black voters.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said he would double the number of attorneys the section has to apply the right to vote.
He explained they will challenge policies and laws being proposed everywhere around the country that could make it more difficult for certain groups to cast their ballots.
“We’re inspecting new laws that seek to curtail voter access, and in which we see violations of federal law, we are not going to hesitate to act.”
“We’re also scrutinizing current legislation and practices, in order to determine if they discriminate against Black voters and other voters of color,” he explained.
Garland pointed to policies in some areas that induce nonwhite voters to wait in long lines at polling stations, while Republicans in white districts face minimal waits.
He said the section would also put guidelines on early voting and voting by mail, on redistricting maps, also on recount rules, that would be utilized to enforce equal voting rights.
“There has been a dramatic growth in legislative attempts which will make it harder for countless citizens to cast a ballot that counts,” Garland said.
In the wake of last year’s record voter turnout — aided by early and by-mail voting — that saw Republicans lose control of the White House and Senate,” Garland noted that at least 14 countries have passed new legislation this year making it harder to vote.
In all of those Republicans have pushed the laws, against resistance by Democrats.
Republicans also have forced or tried to induce vote recounts and audits according to unsupported claims of fraud.
Some authorities, based on disinformation, have used abnormal post-election audit methodologies that may set the integrity of the voting process at risk and undermine public confidence in our democracy,” Garland said.