Department of Justice warns states over election audits not to break federal law

The DOJ warned states not to intimidate voters during the audits.
Arizona voters
2020 Arizona voters
(OLIVIER TOURON/AFP via Getty Images)

The Department of Justice said Wednesday that it is closely tracking the audit of the 2020 election in Arizona, with the agency announcing new guidelines that warn states to comply with federal laws while conducting audits.

"The reason we're issuing this as guidance is to tell jurisdictions, generally, that we are concerned that if they're going to conduct these audits, so-called audits of the past election, they have to comply with federal law, and warning them that they can't conduct these audits in a way that is going to intimidate voters," a DOJ official said of the guidelines, according to The Epoch Times.

The guidelines summarize the Biden administration's stance on federal law concerning audits. The guidance calls the audits taking place in Arizona and other states "unusual" and "exceedingly rare."

The laws the DOJ is referencing include the Civil Rights Act of 1960, which mandates the retention of election records 22 months after a federal election, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which says no one "shall intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for voting or attempting to vote."

Violators of the Civil Rights Act face fines of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to one year for each violation.