Hawaii Attorney General Clare E. Connors today called on U.S. Attorney General William Barr to reverse his abrupt change to a long-standing U.S. Department of Justice policy that has played an important role in preventing political interference—and the appearance of political interference—in state-run elections. In a letter today to Attorney General Barr, Attorney General Connors joined 23 attorneys general to voice their “strong objection” to this policy reversal, which they said “will erode the public’s confidence in the election,” and called on him to “reverse your decision promptly.”
The American people voted in record numbers in a safe and secure election, and they chose a new president. Despite this, Attorney General Barr issued a directive on November 9 that U.S. attorneys may pursue allegations of voter fraud without adhering to long-established, important guardrails. Until now, the Department of Justice has recognized that the principal responsibility for overseeing elections lies with states and has “taken care to avoid affecting the outcome of elections or even the perception of political intrusion in the electoral process,” Attorney General Connors and the coalition wrote. Attorney General Connors previously served as a Department of Justice trial attorney and then as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Hawaii.
“The new policy reverses long-standing recognition by the federal government that the states ensure the legitimacy of elections,” said Attorney General Connors. “The Department of Justice’s action only serves to undermine confidence in our democratic system by introducing the specter of politics.”
Joining Attorney General Connors in signing the letter are Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and Minnesota Attorney General Ellison, who co-led the letter, and the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
A copy of the letter can be found here.