(PresidentialInsider.com)- The Department of Justice is getting involved with state audits on elections, indicating the agency isn’t too keen on the various election audits and election reform laws being carried out and passed by Republican-led states.
Since the presidential election in November 2020, many Republican-led states have been passing election reform laws to protect the security and integrity of elections. At the same time, some states are still undergoing election audits to ensure the results of the 2020 election were fair.
Recently, the DOJ issued new guidance on how election audits in states should be undertaken. The department distributed the new guidance last week, directing it, in part, toward the state legislatures.
The document instructs election investigators on “how states much comply with federal law” when they are conducting an audit of a statewide election. The guidance addresses the efforts by a few states to do away with emergency voting rules instituted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, other states are trying to make those emergency measures permanent.
Democrats are insisting that the changes to state election laws are an attempt by Republicans to suppress the vote in their state in the future. They also say the election audits are meant to cast more doubt on the 2020 presidential election, as they say some states are still trying to overturn the results.
Republicans, meanwhile, are saying that the new election rules are meant to address the underlying issues with regard to security. They also say they are only looking to strengthen the voting system in the U.S., which hasn’t been updated in years.
The DOJ suggested that the state election audits might run afoul of “statutes that prohibit the intimidation of voters.”
The department said they were concerned that “some jurisdictions conducting [election audits] may be using, or proposing to use, procedures that risk violating the Civil Rights Act.” They are referring to a part of the Act that deals with how to properly handle voting records.
The DOJ’s guidance also says proposals to “contact individuals face to face” for canvassing “rais[e] concerns regarding potential intimidation of voters.”
Still, the DOJ didn’t refer to any specific cases or evidence that any of this was actually happening. In other words, it seems the DOJ is merely afraid that this could potentially happen.
In a sense, the guidance, then, is almost undermining the election audits’ credibility as they are still undergoing — before any results have been reported.
The DOJ said they could clamp down on states depending on what they do regarding voting regulations and rules in place before the pandemic hit.
According to the guidance:
“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.”