Attorney General Garland: ‘Right To Vote Is Under Attack’

Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaking at an event commemorating the anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, pledged to fight voter ID laws while telling the crowd that there have been sustained efforts to disenfranchise black voters.

Garland said that the 1965 Voting Rights Act has been weakened by Supreme Court decisions since 2005 that include voter ID laws, redistricting maps, and restrictions on early voting.

“Those measures include practices and procedures that make voting more difficult; redistricting maps that disadvantage minorities; and changes in voting administration that diminish the authority of locally elected or nonpartisan election administrators,” Garland said. “Such measures threaten the foundation of our system of government.”

The AG also made it clear that he intends to fight voter ID laws and other election integrity measures.

Some of the ways the DOJ was “fighting back” included doubling the number of lawyers in the voting section of the Civil Rights Division and increased challenges to state and local jurisdictions when he deemed it necessary.

Garland stated that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was “challenging efforts by states and jurisdictions to implement discriminatory, burdensome, and unnecessary restrictions on access to the ballot, including those related to mail-in voting, the use of drop boxes, and voter ID requirements.”

He also said they were “working to block the adoption of discriminatory redistricting plans that dilute the vote of Black voters and other voters of color.”

Voter ID policies vary from state to state. Since the 2020 election, eight new states have enacted some form of voter ID law. As it stands now, 12 states have no ID requirement, 13 require photo ID, and the rest of the states fall somewhere in between.

A Gallup poll from 2022 showed that more than 80% of Americans favored voting ID laws and with illegal immigration at historic levels, election integrity continues to grow in importance.

While many Republicans welcome the use of voter ID and other election integrity measures, many Democrats see it as an affront to Civil Rights. Garland said that the DOJ “recognizes the urgency of this moment,” and it is yet to be seen how that will play out in the upcoming election.