Nearly two dozen Democratic state attorneys general have sent a letter to Congress citing the Jan. 6 Capitol attack as impetus to pass new election protection laws.
In a letter to top leadership in the Senate and House, the 22 state attorneys general said the mob of pro-Trump supporters who breached the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election results has prompted concerns over future elections.
“Any future attempt to overturn a democratic result will now have a template to work from and more time to prepare,” states the letter, which was sent Monday. “And such an effort is virtually certain to be conducted more competently than the attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.”
The group said they had hoped the “attack on democracy” had ended after Jan. 6 and former President Donald Trump’s “failed attempt to steal the election,” but that is not the case.
“Whether it is the so-called ‘audit’ in Arizona and the proposed ‘audits’ in Pennsylvania and other states, the passage of restrictive voting laws in 18 states, the expulsion [of Republican Rep. Liz Cheney] due to her insistence on telling the truth about the 2020 presidential election, or Republicans blocking an independent commission to investigate the insurrection, efforts to undermine our democracy clearly have not subsided,” the letter reads.
These Republican-led efforts, they say, undermine fair elections and confidence in vote counts, and provide cover for people who have tried to subvert the will of voters.
The letter cited a “Statement of Concern” signed in June by more than 100 democracy scholars who warned of potential consequences that may arise from “anti-democratic” election laws in key battleground states.
“These laws politicizing the administration and certification of elections could enable some state legislators or partisan election officials to do what they failed to do in 2020: reverse the outcome of a free and fair election,” the scholars said.
The attorneys general pointed to a Supreme Court decision last month to uphold two voting laws in Arizona that they argue “substantially diminished” parts of the federal Voting Rights Act.
The 6-3 ruling rejected the Democratic National Committee’s argument that the laws — which block votes cast in the wrong precinct and restrict who can submit another person’s ballot — are racially discriminatory.
The group urged leaders in the Senate and House to immediately change the upper chamber’s filibuster and pass federal legislation to protect against voter suppression and election subversion.
The attorneys general argue their work to ensure the integrity of last year’s election — including defending states’ expanded absentee voting and suing the U.S. Postal Service over mail delays — is not enough.
“We cannot confidently rely on these factors to protect the will of the voters in future elections,” they said, “especially since the legal environment is growing more hostile to free and fair elections.”
The letter was signed by Democratic attorneys general from: California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
• Emily Zantow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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