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Biden Department Of Justice Declares War On Voter ID And Other Election Security Laws

Garland boasted that the DOJ is ‘challenging efforts by states and jurisdictions to implement … voter ID requirements.’

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Attorney General Merrick Garland vowed Sunday to fight election security laws that state legislatures have passed, calling them “burdensome” and “unnecessary.”

Speaking at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Selma, Alabama to commemorate Bloody Sunday, Garland began by likening voter identification laws to Jim Crow laws, something his boss has done in the past. 

“Progress in protecting the right to vote — especially for black Americans — has never been steady. Indeed throughout our country’s history … the right to vote in America has been under attack,” Garland said. 

“And that is why the Justice Department is fighting back,” he continued. “That is why we are 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.”

A recent Pew Research study found 81 percent of Americans support requiring people to show a “government-issued photo identification” in order to vote. Similarly, a Gallup poll from October 2022 found 79 percent of Americans support requiring a voter prove their identity before casting a ballot. 

Thirty-six states currently have some form of voter ID laws. 

In Alabama, for example, voters may present a drivers license, an Alabama photo voter ID, a non-driver ID, a state ID such as a pistol permit or booking sheet from prison, a federal ID, a passport, a student ID, or a military ID, among others. Voters who lack a valid form of ID can obtain a free Alabama photo voter ID from either the Secretary of State’s office or the local county board of registrars’ offices, according to the Secretary of State

Voters in Alabama may still cast a provisional ballot without a photo ID, or cast a regular ballot so long as two election officials can testify to their presence on the poll list and their eligibility. Voters who cast a provisional ballot must show proof of identity by 5:00 p.m. on the Friday following the election. 

The Biden DOJ Has a History of Targeting Election Integrity Laws

Garland’s comments aren’t the first time the Biden administration has targeted popular voter integrity laws.

President Joe Biden said in 2021 while speaking at the National Constitution Center that Republican voter ID laws are “an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote” and were akin to “Jim Crow” laws. 

“We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole, since the Civil War,” the president claimed.

As Jonathan Tobin aptly noted in these pages, “election integrity is not Fort Sumter.”

Still, that hasn’t stopped the administration from supporting changes proposed by congressional Democrats to make elections less secure.

Democrats proposed radical legislation under the misnomer title “Freedom to Vote Act” that would have essentially federalized elections. Under the proposal, states would have to automatically register individuals to vote, implement early voting and same-day registration, and ban voter ID laws nationwide, among other provisions. 

The Biden administration has also turned to federal agencies and the courts to try and control elections. 

Biden signed Executive Order 14019 in 2021 mandating federal departments use taxpayer funds to increase voter registration and draft “strategic” plans explaining how the agencies will fulfill Biden’s goal. Pennsylvania legislators sued the Biden administration and others in January, claiming the move is in violation of Pennsylvania law that prohibits the “influence of third party entities in elections.”

“President Biden does not have the unilateral power to oversee and participate in making legislative decisions regarding the time, place, and manner of Presidential and Congressional elections, including the registration of electors in Pennsylvania,” the suit says.

In July 2022, the Biden Department of Justice sued Arizona over a state law that required voters to show documentary proof of citizenship (DPOC) to vote for president. A court ruled Thursday that Arizona has an interest in keeping noncitizens off its voter rolls but hamstrung a handful of the state’s efforts to make its voter rolls more secure. The judge had previously struck down the law requiring DPOC for presidential elections, although her Thursday ruling allowed the state to continue requiring DPOC to register to vote for statewide elections. 


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