Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown said Thursday that until very recently the U.S. Department of Justice had not been paying attention to issues of voter suppression.

"The Justice Department has frankly been asleep," Brown told Current TV host Jennifer Granholm. "I maintain that we ought to use every element of the law that we can in order to make sure that no one becomes comfortable trying to discourage people from voting."

On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder warned that minority rights were under threat from voter ID laws and other voting laws. More than 30 states have changed voter laws since 2008, including requiring voter identification cards, eliminating same-day registration on voting day, prohibiting ex-felons from ballot access, restricting early voting and requiring proof of citizenship.

"We ought to be about trying to encourage people in the process," Brown said.

Watch video, courtesy of Current TV, below: