AG Garland pledges to fight voter ID laws, election integrity measures

Attorney General Merrick Garland appeared alongside Vice President Kamala Harris in Selma, Alabama on Sunday where he pledged to fight voter ID laws and other election integrity measures that he deemed ‘discriminatory, burdensome, and unnecessary.’ 

Their appearance marked the 59th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday attacks on civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama. 

Speaking at a Selma church service to mark the anniversary of the attack by Alabama law officers on civil rights demonstrators, Garland recounted the history of voting rights since the end of slavery – a history which, he told the crowd, has ‘never been steady’ for Black Americans and ‘other voters of color.’ 

He lamented that in recent years, certain measures such as voter ID laws and redistricting maps have made it harder ‘for millions of eligible voters to vote and to elect the representatives of their choice.’  

‘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 told worshippers at Selma’s Tabernacle Baptist Church, the site of one of the first mass meetings of the voting rights movement. ‘Such measures threaten the foundation of our system of government.’

Garland said the DOJ was ‘fighting back.’ He pointed to having doubled the number of lawyers in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division, and his legal challenges to state and jurisdictions to implement when he deemed ‘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. Polls consistently show that huge majorities of Americans favor voter ID.

‘That is why we are working to block the adoption of discriminatory redistricting plans that dilute the vote of Black voters and other voters of color,’ he said, later adding that the DOJ ‘recognizes the urgency of this moment.’ 

Garland’s remarks come at a time when illegal immigration into the country is at historic highs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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