Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the Justice Department will aggressively fight efforts to restrict voting rights nationwide following a blitz of new voting restrictions in Republican-led states that stem from former President Donald Trump’s lies that widespread fraud helped Joe Biden win the presidential election.

In a speech Friday, Garland outlined a number of steps the Justice Department will take to protect every citizen’s right to vote, and within the next 30 days said the department will double the number of employees in the Civil Rights Division’s “enforcement staff for protecting the right to vote,” he said.

“We will use all existing provisions of the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act, the Help America Vote Act, and the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act to ensure that we protect every qualified American seeking to participate in our democracy,” Garland said Friday, adding that the Justice Department will examine new restrictive voting laws across the country and take action against any “violations of federal law.”

“There are many things that are open to debate in America. But the right of all eligible citizens to vote is not one of them. The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, the right from which all other rights ultimately flow,” Garland said.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Department of Justice in Washington, Monday, April 26, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP)

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