Mr. Barr’s action comes days after Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump
Attorney General William Barr has authorised federal prosecutors across the United State to pursue “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election is certified, despite little evidence of fraud.
It gives prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election is formally certified.
Mr. Trump has not conceded the election and is instead claiming without evidence that there has been a widespread, multi-state conspiracy by Democrats to skew the vote tally in Mr. Biden’s favour.
Mr. Biden holds a sizable lead in multiple battleground states and there has been no indication of enough improperly counted or illegally cast votes that would shift the outcome.
In fact, election officials from both political parties have publicly stated the election went well, though there have been minor issues that are typical in elections, including voting machines breaking and ballots that were miscast and lost.
In a memo to US attorneys, obtained by The Associated Press, Mr. Barr wrote that investigations “may be conducted if there are clear and apparently-credible allegations of irregularities that, if true, could potentially impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual State.”
States have until December 8 to resolve election disputes, including recounts and court contests over the results. Members of the Electoral College meet December 14 to finalise the outcome.