The Biden administration needs “a lot more lawyers” to secure voting rights nationwide, Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Friday. In public remarks from Department of Justice headquarters, Garland announced that help is on the way: In the next 30 days, he plans to double the staff of attorneys working in the agency’s Civil Rights Division, which is charged with enforcing voting laws.
The announcement represents the most significant response yet from President Joe Biden to the wave of bills to restrict voting access that have been approved by Republican governors around the country since Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election. Garland urged Congress to pass two voting bills that are at risk of dying in the Senate, including one that would give his department greater power to enforce federal election law in the states, but he said “we will not wait for that legislation to act.”
Garland also addressed conspiracy-fueled election “audits” taking place in states like Arizona, where officials have long since certified Biden the winner, saying that the DOJ will closely scrutinize whether those audits comply with federal law.