Merrick Garland says DOJ 'will not hesitate to act' on potential civil rights violations of new voting laws

Multiple states have passed new voting laws since the 2020 election.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a speech on Friday that the Department of Justice will be "scrutinizing new laws that seek to curb voter access."

"Where we see violations of federal law, we will not hesitate to act," said Garland, calling voting the "central pillar of democracy."

The attorney general announced that the DOJ is looking at current laws as well "in order to determine whether they discriminate against Black voters and other voters of color."

"Particularly concerning in this regard are several studies showing that, in some jurisdictions, non-white voters must wait in line substantially longer than white voters to cast their ballots," he said.

He also said the DOJ will beef up its civil rights division, adding lawyers and staffers tasked with "protecting the right to vote."

Garland also discussed some of the various post-2020 election audits, one of which occurred in Arizona.

"Many of the justifications proffered in support of these post-election audits and restrictions on voting," the attorney general said, "have relied on assertions of material vote fraud in the 2020 election that have been refuted by the law enforcement and intelligence agencies of both this administration and the previous one, as well as by every court -- federal and state -- that has considered them."

Additionally, Garland stood up for election officials who've been threatened simply for doing their jobs, including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Ruffsberger.

"Such threats undermine our electoral process and violate a myriad of federal laws," Garland said, adding that the department will look into such threats.