OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The U.S. Department of Justice is now telling states that they should not pursue their own Arizona-style election audits.
The DOJ’s new guidance document claims that undertaking “partisan” election audits could violate federal law, which seems like a clear statement directed at Republicans who support audits in states.
“The guidance document explicitly warns against audits in which election officials are forced to turn over materials like ballots or voting machines to state lawmakers or third parties — as in Arizona, whose audit is being run by the private company Cyber Ninjas,” Forbes reported.
“There are federal or criminal penalties attached,” the guidance asserts.
Biden’s DOJ then suggests that those who carry out audits of the 2020 election “can face fines of up to $1,000 and imprisonment of up to one year for each violation.”
The Forbes report added:
Federal law requires state and local election officials to retain federal election records for at least 22 months after an election, and the DOJ said it interprets the Civil Rights Act to mean “elections records [must] ‘be retained either physically by election officials themselves, or under their direct administrative supervision.’”
Violating federal law by turning over election materials could be punishable through fines of up to $1,000 or a prison sentence of up to one year.
While some audits could comply with state law, the DOJ said, “federal law imposes additional constraints with which every jurisdiction must comply.”
“Election audits are exceedingly rare. But the Department is concerned that some jurisdictions conducting them may be using, or proposing to use, procedures that risk violating the Civil Rights Act,” the DOJ document reads.
“The duty to retain and preserve election records necessarily requires that elections officials maintain the security and integrity of those records and their attendant chain of custody, so that a complete and uncompromised record of federal elections can be reliably accessed and used in federal law enforcement matters,” the DOJ document adds.
Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem, who is now running for Arizona Secretary of State to replace Democrat Katie Hobbs, recently warned Attorney General Merrick Garland against getting involved in Arizona.
“I got news for Merrick Garland, there’s this little thing called the Constitution,” said Finchem. “Article I, section IV, the times, places, and manner of holding an election for senators and representatives… it is the legislature that has responsibility for nominating and naming the electors for President.”
“I would advise Merrick Garland and his team of thugs that now occupy the Department of Justice: Tread very lightly,” he added.
Finchem said: “Our attorney general, I spoke with their representative this morning, I’m not going to put him on the hook for anything, but you’re going to walk into a very surprising reception if you try to do anything in this state that interferes with legislative authority in handling our elections. Hard stop.”
Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers warned Garland that he better stay away from Arizona or he could find himself in prison.
“You will not touch Arizona ballots or machines unless you want to spend time in an Arizona prison. Maybe you should focus on stopping terrorism. The Justice Department is one of the most corrupt institutions in the USA,” she said on Twitter.