Attorney General James Calls on Attorney General Barr to Reverse New Policy Eroding Public Confidence in Election

AG James and Coalition Oppose Policy Change That Allows U.S. Attorneys to Pursue
Wild Allegations of Voter Fraud Without Adhering to Long-Established Guiderails

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today called on U.S. Attorney General William Barr to reverse an abrupt change he recently made to a 40-year-old U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) policy that, until this week, had kept the DOJ from interfering with presidential election results. In a letter to Attorney General Barr, Attorney General James and 22 additional attorneys general from around the nation voiced their “strong objection” to this policy reversal, which they said “will erode the public’s confidence in the election.” The coalition calls on Attorney General Barr to reverse his decision promptly.

“This policy reversal is nothing more than a last-ditch effort by a lame-duck administration to desperately latch on to power and sow chaos in our electoral process,” said Attorney General James. “The people have spoken, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been elected president-elect and vice president-elect of the United States. This election was fair and safe, and even another branch of the Trump Administration has now publicly stated that this election was ‘the most secure in American history.’ The president and Attorney General Barr’s attempts to divide Americans and instill doubt in our elections is un-American and will not go unchallenged.”

The American people have voted in record numbers in a safe and secure election and have clearly chosen a new president. Despite this outcome, Attorney General Barr issued a new directive on November 9 — after results already showed that President Donald Trump had lost reelection — that stated that U.S. attorneys may now pursue allegations of voter fraud without adhering to long-established, important guardrails. Attorney General James and the coalition write in the letter today that until this directive was issued, the DOJ recognized that the principal responsibility for overseeing elections lied with states and had “taken care to avoid affecting the outcome of elections or even the perception of political intrusion in the electoral process.”

Additionally, last night, the Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees — as part of the Trump Administration — issued a joint statement, in which they stated, “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history…There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” The joint statement continues, “While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too. When you have questions, turn to elections officials as trusted voices as they administer elections.”

Nowhere in the joint statement did the Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council or the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees make mention for the need for the DOJ to insert itself in the election review process and investigate any false claims of voter fraud.

Joining Attorney General James in signing today’s letter are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.