The Department of Justice just issued a warning about states performing election audits or considering conducting election audits.
“The department warned that auditors could face criminal and civil penalties if they destroy any records related to the election or intimidate voters in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1960 and federal laws prohibiting voter intimidation,” the NY Times reported.
“The admonishment came in election-related guidance documents issued as part of the department’s larger plan to protect access to the polls, announced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in June,” the Times continued. “Another document released on Wednesday outlined federal laws on how ballots are cast and said that the department could scrutinize states that revert to prepandemic voting procedures, which may not have allowed as many people to vote early or by mail.”
“The warning was the Justice Department’s latest effort to alert state lawmakers that their audits could run afoul of federal law,” the Times added. “Department officials cautioned the Republican-led Arizona State Senate in May that its audit and recount of the November election in Maricopa County, widely seen as a partisan exercise to fuel grievances over Donald J. Trump’s election loss, may be in violation of the Civil Rights Act.”
It is not the first time the Department of Justice has tried to keep states from reviewing 2020 election results with forensic audits.
In late June, the Biden Department of Justice, headed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, sued Georgia over its new election law.
“Today, the Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia. Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color,” Garland claimed without being specific.
On Wednesday, the Arizona State Senate announced that it had completed the counting of ballots in Maricopa County, and the ballots were being returned to the county.
“The counting of the ballots is complete and they are being returned to Maricopa County,” Arizona State Senate President Karen Fann tweeted. “Now we wait for the draft and final reports.”
In Florida, a GOP state lawmaker recently called for a forensic audit, even though Donald Trump had won the state during the 2020 election.
“A full forensic audit of the five counties must be done immediately,” State Rep. Anthony Sabatini said. “Florida voters’ confidence in our elections is at an all-time low. Disturbing revelations in Arizona, Georgia and other states make clear that the Secretary of State needs to do more than attempt to secure future elections. They must also look back and ensure that laws already on the books were followed in previous elections.”
“This is not a partisan issue and is a necessary step in ensuring voter confidence in future elections,” he said, adding that “it’s about time”that election officials “start showing some transparency.”