Justice Department Warns States Against Conducting Ballot Audits That Violate Federal Laws
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has warned states about conducting their own ballot reviews of the last year’s presidential election, asking officials to make sure they don’t violate federal law during the process.
Election audits in states controlled by Republicans, like Arizona and Georgia, have come under scrutiny due to their unorthodox methods.
“These examinations, sometimes referred to as “audits,” are governed, in the first instance, by state law,” DOJ said in a seven-page statement. “In some circumstances, the proposed examinations may comply with state law; in others, they will not.”
“But regardless of the relevant state law, federal law imposes additional constraints with which every jurisdiction must comply,” the statement added. “This document provides information about those federal constraints, which are enforced by the Department of Justice.”
In the statement, the DOJ emphasized the importance of non-partisan counting of election results.
“The Department is also committed to ensuring that American elections are secure and reflect the choices made on the ballots cast by eligible citizens,” the statement said. “Election audits are exceedingly rare. But the Department is concerned that some jurisdictions conducting them may be using, or proposing to use, procedures that risk violating the Civil Rights Act.”
Last month, the DOJ sued Georgia for violating the Voting Rights Act, asserting that the state’s new election law unlawfully discriminated against its minority constituents.