President Joe Biden's attorney general, Merrick Garland, said Monday that the Justice Department is "seriously and urgently investigating" the way that states are changing voting procedures or redistricting to make sure they are not violating federal voting rights.
"We are seriously and urgently investigating and examining other changes in procedures and practices, and particularly looking at all the redistricting that's done as a consequence of the decennial census," Garland said during an interview at the New Yorker Festival.
"We are worried about attacks on voting systems, attacks from an internet security point of view. We are worried about attacks on secretaries of state and administrators of elections and even poll workers," he said, adding that he had put together a task force to look into these threats.
Garland's comments follow the Justice Department suing Georgia, claiming that it infringes on the rights of Black voters by narrowing absentee ballot identification requirements, limiting ballot drop-box use, and even banning passing out water or food to people waiting in line at polling places. In July, the Justice Department also issued legal guidance that warned states to be mindful, indicating an "unusual second round of examinations" into 2020 election results emerging in various states even though none of the previous state recounts had "produced evidence of either wrongdoing or mistakes."
Garland recognized that the Justice Department's legal powers to address voting rights have been reduced, in part due to a 2013 Supreme Court case that decimated a key section of the Voting Rights Act and encouraged Congress to pass new legislation to re-establish its authority.
"Are our tools weakened? Yes, they are," Garland said. "But our passion hasn't weakened."
State lawmakers maintain the toughened standards being executed to establish the security and veracity of elections for all Americans.