AG Garland warns of DOJ scrutiny for Arizona-style audits

AG Merrrick Garland said the Justice Department will scrutinize any such audits as Arizona’s to ensure they’re following federal laws.

By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland warned states that may be thinking about emulating Arizona’s self-styled election audit or enacting new voting restrictions based on dubious fraud claims that a newly beefed up civil rights division at the Department of Justice will have its eye on them.

Republican lawmakers from various states have been touring Veterans Memorial Coliseum in recent days to get a first-hand look at the recount and review of the 2020 general election in Maricopa County that has been underway since late April, and many are proposing similar audits in their own states. 

Garland said on Friday that the Justice Department will scrutinize any such audits to ensure they’re following federal laws prohibiting voter intimidation and requiring the protection of ballots and other election records. The department will also publish guidance explaining which federal civil and criminal laws apply to future post-election audits.

The attorney general said similar scrutiny will be applied to any laws that states might pass to restrict access to voting, which could have ramifications for Arizona if state lawmakers seek to pass such legislation in response to the purported findings of the audit. Garland announced that he’s doubling the number of attorneys in DOJ’s civil rights division who are responsible for protecting voting rights.

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