Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged Friday to double the size of the Justice Department’s voting rights enforcement staff to vigorously combat efforts to restrict ballot access and prosecute those who threaten or harm election workers.

In an expansive speech that invoked the nation’s long and at times faltering progress toward ensuring every American’s right to vote, Garland likened the fight against current efforts to curtail ballot access to past campaigns to enshrine voting rights for Black Americans in the Constitution and the seminal Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Garland said the additional trial attorneys, which he plans to hire over the coming 30 days, will scrutinize new laws and existing practices across the nation for potential discrimination against Americans of color, including new measures being pushed by GOP state lawmakers. They will vigorously enforce provisions of the Voting Rights Act by challenging such laws or practices in court — and prosecute anyone found to intimidate or threaten violence against election officials….

White House and Justice Department officials, keenly aware of the near-impossible hurdles they face on Capitol Hill, see the executive branch as perhaps their primary tool for taking on the Republican voting laws….