AG Ellison leads call to AG Barr to reverse new policy that ‘will erode the public’s confidence in the election’

Co-leads letter of 23 AGs in voicing ‘strong objection’ to abrupt policy change that allows U.S. attorneys to pursue allegations of voter fraud without adhering to long-established guardrails

November 13, 2020 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison co-led a coalition of 23 attorneys general today in a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr that calls on him to reverse his abrupt change to a 40-year-old U.S. Department of Justice policy that until this week had kept the department from interfering with election results. Attorney General Ellison and the coalition, which was co-led by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, voiced their “strong objection” to this policy reversal, which they said “will erode the public’s confidence in the election.” They called on Attorney General Barr to “reverse your decision promptly.” 

“The American people have voted in record numbers in an election that the  Department of Homeland Security has called ‘the most secure in American history’ and have clearly chosen a new president,” Attorney General Ellison said. “Despite these clear facts, Attorney General Barr has abruptly changed a 40-year-old policy that kept the Justice Department from meddling in election results. I led a broad coalition of attorneys general from across the country to call on him to reverse his decision and step away from undermining our democracy.” 

On November 9, Attorney General Barr issued a new directive that U.S. attorneys may now 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 Ellison and the coalition wrote. 

Joining Attorney General Ellison and Maryland Attorney General Frosh in signing the letter are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, 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 is available on Attorney General Ellison’s website