Washington, D.C. — Today, one day after what would have been the 81st birthday of the late Congressman John Lewis, U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff secured a strong assurance from President Biden’s nominee for Attorney General, Judge Merrick Garland, that he and the Department of Justice will fully enforce constitutional and statutory guarantees of the right to vote — especially in the face of voter suppression attempts in Georgia.
Sen. Ossoff noted that Georgia’s State Legislature is currently considering legislation that would make it harder to vote, including ending Sunday early voting, eliminating no-excuse absentee voting, reducing available hours of early voting, creating new photo ID laws, and more.
Sen. Ossoff asked Judge Garland to provide an assurance that the Department of Justice will diligently and fully enforce constitutional and statutory guarantees of the rights to vote, to which Judge Garland agreed, saying, “I give you my complete assurance, Senator.”
Please find a transcript of the exchange below:
OSSOFF: “I want to return to the question of the Department’s authorities and mission to defend voting rights, and note that Sunday would’ve been Congressman John Lewis’s 81st birthday. As you know, he committed his life, and nearly lost his life, in the struggle for voting rights. But as we speak, George’s state legislature is considering legislation that would make it harder for Georgians to vote. For example, to end Sunday early voting, which is used heavily by Black and working-class voters to cut the window during which voters can participate via absentee ballot, which would make it harder for seniors to vote. I’m not asking you to comment on these specific bills, but what I’m hoping you can provide is an assurance that the Department of Justice will diligently and fully enforce constitutional and statutory guarantees of the rights to vote.”
GARLAND: “I give you my complete assurance, yes, Senator.”