Obama Law

Rethinking the Voting Rights Division
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Dec. 9 2008 6:07 PM

Obama Law

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Emily, in your very first post you asked me and Joe about possible fixes to the Voting Rights Division. I view the voting section of the Civil Rights Division to be the fulcrum of the office. The right to vote is, in my view, essentially sacred, and it needs to be guarded zealously. Any scheme or artifice deployed to deprive legitimate voters from their right is abhorrent.

It was deeply troubling to see that the discredited specter of voter fraud once again was resurrected this fall to try to get the DoJ involved in high-visibility investigations just before the elections. Joe wrote about the long-standing DoJ policy of maintaining a low profile on voter-fraud investigations before the election. I have heard that this policy was recently changed to allow for more visible, pre-election investigations. If that's true, this needs to be changed back to the historic policy. The DoJ should stick to its bread-and-butter cases, which have traditionally been immigration crimes, narcotics, and white-collar cases. The new administration will send its priorities out to the field, where new U.S. attorneys will come into line and enforce the law. The new DoJ should also affirm the historic practice of prosecutorial independence in its first meeting of U.S. attorneys.



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David C. Iglesias was the U.S. attorney for the District of New Mexico between 2001 and 2007. He is the author of the book In Justice: Inside the Scandal That Rocked the Bush Administration.