Loretta Lynch Questioned on Race Neutral Enforcement Problems at Voting Section

Senator Cruz in his written questions probes into reports that the Voting Section fails to enforce the laws in a race neutral fashion.  Cruz cites “U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Letter from Commissioner Peter Kirsanow to Chairman Charles Grassley, 1-4 (Feb. 3, 2015) (detailing Department conduct, including that of former Deputy Attorney General Julie Fernandes, with respect to the Civil Rights Division’s removal of cases involving white voters from Civil Rights
Division consideration and citing specific Commission reports that explore this subject in depth).”

A portion of the written questions:

III. Selective Voting Rights Enforcement
There is concern that the Department of Justice under Attorney General Holder has
embraced the view that federal voting rights laws should not be enforced in a race-neutral
manner but should only be enforced to protect the rights of minority voters. Reports
produced by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, in addition to feedback from the
Commission’s membership, indicate that the Department has incorporated this view into
its policy and strategy.

1. Do you agree or disagree that federal voting rights laws are intended to
protect—and that the Department of Justice should protect—the rights of all
voters regardless of race? If you disagree with this view, please provide a
detailed explanation as to why.

RESPONSE: I am not personally familiar with the specifics of each one of the civil and
criminal provisions of the federal laws regarding voting rights, nor am I familiar with the
specifics of their interpretation by the Department or the federal courts. My general
understanding is that in some provisions of the federal civil and criminal laws regarding voting,
Congress has sought to protect all voters in all elections, while other provisions are more
specific; for example, in some provisions Congress has sought to protect voters in particular
types of elections (e.g., voters in elections for federal office), while in other provisions Congress
has sought to protect voters it has identified as having particular challenges with regard to voting
(e.g., voters away from their place of residence due to service in the uniformed services and
American citizens living overseas, or voters who suffer from blindness, disabilities or an
inability to read or write). If I am confirmed as Attorney General, I am committed to enforcing
all the federal laws within the Department’s jurisdiction, including the federal voting rights laws,
according to their specific terms, in a fair and even-handed manner. As a general matter, I agree
that the right of every eligible American citizen to vote and have that vote counted in our
elections is fundamental to our democracy and should be protected.