Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Garland Calls Election Reforms ‘Discriminatory, Burdensome, and Unnecessary’



Attorney General Merrick Garland, in an address Sunday at a church in Selma, Alabama, characterized state election laws designed to verify mail-in ballots, restrict drop boxes, and require voter ID as “discriminatory, burdensome, and unnecessary.”

Experts say the attorney general’s comments don’t line up with the views of a supermajority of Americans, and that the Biden administration intentionally is undermining election reform efforts ahead of the November elections.

During his appearance with Vice President Kamala Harris at Selma’s Tabernacle Baptist Church marking the 59th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday attacks on civil rights marchers, Garland declared that his Justice Department is ramping up its “fight” against states and local jurisdictions to challenge laws designed to strengthen the integrity of elections.

Garland said some states have placed “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.”

Garland went on to assert that voter ID laws make it “more difficult” for “millions of eligible voters to vote and to elect the representatives of their choice.” He said the Justice Department is “fighting back” by doubling the number of attorneys in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division and filing a series of legal challenges in states and jurisdictions that have enacted election reforms.

However, recent surveys on the topic indicate that the American public’s views are largely not in line with the attorney general’s. Polls have consistently shown that a strong majority of Americans support requiring some form of photo ID in order to vote, with some polls showing 80% in favor, including 60% of Democrats. Currently, 36 states have some form of voter ID laws.

Evidence also shows that Garland’s claims—that election reforms make it harder, particularly for minorities, to vote—are not true in practice. Following the “Jim Crow 2.0” uproar surrounding Georgia’s election integrity laws enacted in 2021, the state’s voters set an all-time record for midterm election turnout in 2022, with 0% of black Georgians reporting a “poor” voting experience.

In addition, while Garland contended that state reforms to the mail-in ballot system are “unnecessary,” a December 2023 survey found that 1 in 5 mail-in voters in the 2020 election admitted to committing fraudulent activity in violation of federal law, including filling out a ballot for a friend or family member and submitting a ballot for a state they no longer live in.

Alongside efforts to scuttle election integrity efforts via Garland’s Justice Department, the Biden administration is also carrying out a simultaneous campaign to use taxpayer funds via the Department of Agriculture to work with a left-wing group known as Demos to conduct get-out-the-vote campaigns, which experts say is in violation of federal law.

“Sadly, Attorney General Garland’s efforts to undermine election integrity policies are just business as usual for this administration,” Jason Snead, executive director of the Honest Elections Project, told The Washington Stand. “From the recent announcement that the Biden administration will be using tax dollars to pay college students—a key liberal demographic—to do get-out-the-vote work, to persistent attacks on effective and commonsense election laws, this administration is using every lever of government to push a left-wing voting agenda.”

“There is not a shred of evidence to suggest the laws targeted by the Biden Justice Department do anything other than improve elections and bolster public confidence in voting,” Snead added. “That’s why voter ID enjoys huge, bipartisan support from the American public.”