Garland to affirm votings rights ‘central pillar’ of American democracy

He added that the Justice Department’s goal is to “protect the democracy to which all Americans are entitled.”

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Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke out about voting rights on Friday, making it clear that building on voting rights is a priority of President Joe Biden‘s administration.

The conversation comes after the mayhem surrounding the 2020 election and a slew of voter suppression efforts by the GOP.

As reported by Politico, the attorney general stated:

“We know that expanding the ability of all eligible citizens to vote is a central pillar. That means ensuring that all eligible voters can cast a vote; that all lawful votes are counted; and that every voter has access to accurate information.”

He added that the Justice Department’s goal is to “protect the democracy to which all Americans are entitled.”

Attorney General Garland Gives Policy Address On Voting Rights
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 11: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers remarks on voting rights at the U.S. Department of Justice on June 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. Garland affirmed that expanding the voting rights of all eligible citizens is ‘central’ to democracy. (Photo by Tom Brenner-Pool/Getty Images)

Voting rights became a trending topic after former President Donald Trump refused to concede to Biden after losing the 2020 election. Trump claimed voter fraud and took legal action against many states, but most of his claims were made without evidence.

States like Georgia and Florida have come under fire for passing strict voting laws, limiting ballot drop-off boxes, and banning volunteers from providing water to voters while they wait in line.

Garland added:

“There are many things that are open to debate in America, but the right of all eligible citizens to vote is not one of them. The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, the right from which all other rights ultimately flow.”

As the “For the People Act” stalls in the Senate, Garland declares, “We will not wait for that legislation to act.”

The passing of the bill could change governing federal elections.

Garland’s speech comes after Biden announced Vice President Kamala Harris had been tapped to spearhead the White House’s efforts to protect voting rights, as reported by theGrio.

Biden made the announcement in Oklahoma on June 2nd during an event commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

In his speech, Biden condemned the “horrific” events of 1921. “Some injustices are so heinous, so horrific, so grievous, they cannot be buried, no matter how hard people try,” he said.

“Only with truth can come healing,” Biden told those assembled, “and justice, and repair. Only with truth, facing it.”

The president also made a point of addressing Republican-backed legislation in more than 40 states to restrict voter access, efforts that he called an “unprecedented assault on our democracy.”

“I’m asking Vice President Harris to help these efforts, to lead them, among her many other responsibilities. With her leadership and your support, we’re going to overcome again — I promise you. It’s going to take a hell of a lot of work,” he said.

In an official statement on the appointment, Harris wrote: “Every American has a right to have their voice heard at the ballot box, and no American should be kept from voting early, voting by mail or voting at all. Our democracy is strongest when everyone participates, and it is weaker when people are left out.”

U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the COVID-19 response and vaccination program as Vice President Kamala Harris listens in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In the last election, more people voted than ever before,” she noted. “Since then, more than 380 bills have been introduced across the country that would make it harder for Americans to vote.”

“These bills seek to restrict the options that make voting more convenient and accessible, including early voting and vote by mail. Our Administration will not stand by when confronted with any effort that keeps Americans from voting,” Harris said.

She added that the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, if passed, “would provide all Americans with fair and accessible voting options” and “prevent discriminatory changes to voting laws and procedures.”

Harris will work alongside members of Congress to help advance the bills.

Additional reporting by theGrio’s Biba Adams

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