President Biden’s Justice Department is threatening to sue states for returning to pre-pandemic voting protocols or conducting election audits. In a memo, the DOJ says it is committed to preserving voting rights and will not hesitate to act if they see any states violating voting rights.
Fox News reports:
“The department’s enforcement policy does not consider a jurisdiction’s re-adoption of prior voting laws or procedures to be presumptively lawful; instead, the department will review a jurisdiction’s changes in voting laws or procedures for compliance with all federal laws regarding elections, as the facts and circumstances warrant,” reads a document released by DOJ.
It proceeds to outline a long list of statutory protections on voting rights, including those surrounding mail-in voting.
In a press release, DOJ said: “The guidance document addresses efforts by some states to permanently adopt their COVID-19 pandemic voting modifications, and by other states to bar continued use of those practices, or to impose additional restrictions on voting by mail or early voting, In addition, this guidance document discusses federal statutes the department enforces related to voting by mail, absentee voting and voting in person.”
The Justice Department also issued a warning to states that conducting an audit into the 2020 election could violate federal law. The warning comes as Arizona conducts an election audit and a number of other states have considered following their example.
The agency is “concerned that some jurisdictions conducting [audits] may be using, or proposing to use, procedures that risk violating the Civil Rights Act,” which requires election officials to retain federal election records for at least 22 months after an election.
The guidance also warns against attempts to intimidate voters, citing reports of proposals to contact people in-person to verify their eligibility.
“[W]hen such investigative efforts are directed, or are perceived to be directed, at minority voters or minority communities, they can … can deter them from seeking to vote in the future,” the guidance noted.
“Jurisdictions that authorize or conduct audits must ensure that the way those reviews are conducted has neither the purpose nor the effect of dissuading qualiﬁed citizens from participating in the electoral process.”
The Justice Department has already filed a lawsuit against Georgia over its new election law. So far Biden’s DOJ hasn’t revealed if it will sue other states that have passed new voting laws.