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AG Nessel, Coalition Call on Congress to Urgently Pass Legislation to Safeguard Democracy
August 02, 2021
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, along with 21 other attorneys general, today sent a letter to Congress urging immediate action to safeguard democracy. In the letter, the attorneys general ask Congress to pass legislation protecting against both voter suppression and election subversion.
The coalition - led by Attorney General Nessel, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein - share their concerns about what may come in future elections if action is not taken quickly.
"We have seen attempts across the country to create barriers to voting and even make it easier to overturn election results," Nessel said. "For the benefit of our democracy and to protect the will of the voters, I am urging Congress to act now."
In the letter, the attorneys general describe how their offices worked to ensure that the 2020 general election was conducted freely, fairly, and with integrity. The letter notes that several factors contributed to the failure of former President Trump and his allies to overturn a democratic outcome: "The legal arguments made by those seeking to overturn election results were generally so extraordinarily weak that they did not have even the veneer of legitimacy. Certain election officials-both Republican and Democratic-refused to buckle under pressure at critical points, placing election integrity and our democracy ahead of partisanship. And the attack on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, while dangerous, was inept."
Without new federal legislation strengthening protections for voting rights and preventing election subversion, attorneys general are concerned that the nation cannot confidently rely on the incompetence of subverters to protect the will of the voters in future elections.
Several states have passed laws that create new barriers to voting or make it easier to overturn election results. In a statement issued on June 1 of this year, more than 100 democracy scholars explain, "[W]e have watched with deep concern as Republican-led state legislatures across the country have in recent months proposed or implemented what we consider radical changes to core electoral procedures in response to unproven and intentionally destructive allegations of a stolen election." They observe that "[s]tatutory changes in large key electoral battleground states are dangerously politicizing the process of electoral administration" and "seeking to restrict access to the ballot." And they warn, "[T]hese 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 attorneys general state, "The truths upon which this nation was founded are self-evident. They are not self-executing, however. The profound challenges confronting our democracy demand that Congress act to prevent voter suppression and election subversion. Irrespective of one's views on the value of the filibuster in general, it must not be allowed to stop Congress from addressing these issues so fundamental to our Constitution and democracy. "
Joining Attorney General Nessel in sending this letter are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin