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Republican AGs Warn of Justice Department Election Interference

Is the Biden administration putting its thumb on the 2024 scale?

When it comes to the question of who has the authority to decide how elections are conducted, the Constitution is clear. Legislatures make the rules – not judges, not governors, not attorneys general, and certainly not the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Yet the latter has been trying to insert itself into the business of election administration since the establishment of the Election Threats Task Force in March of 2024. On April 10, a group of 16 Republican AGs fired off a warning in the form of a letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland, observing that the “DOJ has no authority to dictate to the states in matters that concern their sovereign right to ensure safe, secure, and free elections.”

Article I, Section 4 of the US Constitution states: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.” The Founding Fathers didn’t want elections to be controlled by the federal government – for reasons that are fairly obvious. So why does the DOJ now think it is justified in stepping beyond its authority and interfering with something that is very clearly within the purview of the individual states?

The answer, as it always is when government oversteps, is that there is some crisis, some threat, or some danger that requires extraordinary measures. More often than not, of course, the crisis is manufactured – or at least greatly overstated – as is the case with so-called “election threats.”

Progressive Playbook Comes Out for the Election

The political left’s playbook is consistent when it comes to divisive domestic issues: Loudly, and with much indignation, proclaim that the crisis du jour requires comprehensive “common sense” remedies and then never declare themselves satisfied that sufficient action has been taken to end the crisis.

GettyImages-2147888184 abortion

(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

The “gun violence epidemic” presents a good example of this strategy. The abortion issue is another. Progressives again and again demand ever more “common sense” gun restrictions, but the truth is that they will never be happy with anything less than a total ban on the private ownership of firearms. If that seems like an extreme assertion or a generalization, put it to the test: Draw up a list of gun control measures that would satisfy the anti-gun lobby and end their campaign for more restrictions. One simply couldn’t do it without writing “total ban” – the only measure one would need to list.

Is it going too far to say that most progressives will not be satisfied until abortion is available to every woman, everywhere, for any reason or no reason at all – and at any stage of pregnancy? Again, one could attempt to make a list of abortion restrictions of which most progressives would approve, but that list would contain nothing.

So, what has all this to do with Attorney General Garland’s recent comments that democracy is under attack through the election laws passed by several Republican states since 2020? The same playbook is being used. There appear to be few, if any, rules or regulations governing the electoral process that progressives haven’t labeled discriminatory or oppressive. Even the most basic and truly commonsense requirements to show identification before casting a ballot has been described, by a number of elected Democrats, as “voter suppression.”

There is no objective data to support Democrat claims that election laws passed by a lot of Republican states have restricted access to the ballot box for certain minorities. It seems more and more the case that Democrats and their progressive allies object to any restrictions upon voting. It’s almost as if they seem to want a free-for-all in which anybody gets to vote – whether they are legally eligible to do so or not – and they get to vote at any time, by any means available. What’s more, the process for verification of those votes – according to progressives – should be so lax and lenient as to make it almost impossible for any vote to be discounted for any reason.

The DOJ is making no secret of the fact that it views just about any state-level rule regulating the electoral process as “discriminatory, burdensome, and unnecessary restrictions on access to the ballot,” as Garland himself put it, “including those related to mail-in voting, the use of drop boxes, and voter ID requirements.”

It would be interesting to know what – if any – laws Garland believes states should be allowed to enforce. If the issue is the threat to democracy, however, it is hard to imagine any greater threat than the federal government using the Justice Department to prevent states from putting in place any measures designed to protect the integrity of the ballot box.

Read More From Graham J Noble

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