AG Frey calls on AG Barr to reverse new policy that 'will erode the public's confidence' in the election

November 13, 2020

Joins 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 guiderails

AUGUSTA - Attorney General Aaron M. Frey today called on U.S. Attorney General William Barr 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. In a letter today to Attorney General Barr, Attorney General Frey and a coalition of 23 total attorneys general voiced their "strong objection" to this policy reversal, which they said will erode the publics confidence in the election, and called on him to reverse your decision promptly.

The American people have voted in record numbers in a safe and secure election and have clearly chosen a new president. Despite this, Attorney General Barr issued a new directive on November 9 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 Frey and the coalition wrote.

"Attorney General Barr's decision to unilaterally change longstanding Department of Justice policy to advance political objectives is inappropriate and must be reversed," said Frey. "Americans have voted and their votes are being counted. Election officials in Maine and across the country, regardless of political affiliation, have all stated clearly that voter fraud was not an issue which impacted this election, and the systems we already have in place ensure legitimate, fair outcomes. The people of Maine and our country have spoken, and I call on Attorney General Barr to immediately stop using his office to interfere with the democratic process."

Joining Attorney General Frey in signing the letter are Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who co-led the letter, and the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

A copy of the letter is attached below.

Supporting documents

AG Letter to Barr