WASHINGTON - Attorney General Merrick Garland addressed voting rights in a policy speech Friday.
The speech comes two days after Garland called voting "a fundamental element to our democracy" during congressional testimony.
"Without it, without the right to vote, none of the other rights follow," Garland said.
Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on June 9, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.(Photo by Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)
According to the Department of Justice, Garland will address concrete steps the department is taking to secure the right to vote for all Americans.
In recent months, Republican-led states have passed a wave of new voting laws they claim make elections more secure. Critics, however, claim the laws make it harder to vote, disproportionately disenfranchise voters of color, and they’re based on Donald Trump’s false claims that widespread voter fraud cost him the 2020 election.
Trump’s claims have been repeatedly debunked by state and federal elections officials. But that didn’t stop Republican states from enacting new laws.
The backlash from Georgia’s law became so intense, many businesses issued statements condemning it. Major League Baseball removed this year’s All-Star Game from Atlanta. President Joe Biden called it "Jim Crow in the 21st Century."
Georgia is one of the states Biden flipped en route to the presidency. Arizona, which also went his way, has also introduced a new election law penned by Republicans.
Texas, a state increasingly being discussed as a political battleground, went Trump’s way last fall. But the Lone Star State, led by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, still added new voting laws to the books, as did Florida, which has its own Republican governor, Ron DeSantis.
Many of the new laws would be rendered moot upon the passage of the For the People Act of 2021, which would expand automatic and same-day voter registration, vote-by-mail, early voting), and limit removing voters from voter rolls.
It passed the House on March 3, but has found a speedbump in the Senate in the form of Joe Manchin.
The West Virginia Democrat said he would not vote for the election overhaul bill, breaking with his party and the White House.
A staunch moderate, Manchin has positioned himself as a champion of bipartisanship. He claims voting for election reform passed in a partisan manner will ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen.
Manchin is no stranger to breaking from his party. He has been a vocal defender of the filibuster, which has fallen out of favor among left-wing politicians.
This story was reported from Atlanta.