US Department of Justice monitoring polls in key states for voter rights violations
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US Department of Justice monitoring polls in key states for voter rights violations

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is monitoring polling locations in 18 states across the US on election day, ensuring compliance with the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Voting rights monitors are regularly dispatched to monitor polling locations during federal elections. As in past years, monitors will focus on compliance with the Voting Rights Act, and the other federal voting rights laws enforced by the division. Monitors will include civil rights personnel from the Civil Rights Division and civil rights and civil personnel from U.S. Attorney’s Offices. Civil Rights Division personnel will also maintain contact with state and local election officials.

In 2016 the Department of Justice dispatched election monitors to 67 jurisdictions. This year only 44 jurisdictions will be included in their efforts. Many of the jurisdictions being surveyed this year are key locations in battleground states where the election is likely to be decided. These include Duval County, Florida; Hillsborough County, Florida; Miami-Dade County, Florida; Mecklenburg County, North Carolina; Wake County, North Carolina; Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; Lehigh County, Pennsylvania; Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; and City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The DOJ has also invited voters to register complaints related to possible violations of federal voting rights laws through a complaint form on their website or by calling 800-253-3931.

Deployment of government election monitors comes in the wake of President Donald Trump’s continuous calls for partisan election monitoring. Just last month, a bipartisan group of lawyers filed a report with the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at the University of Pennsylvania, alleging US Attorney General William Barr used his position to further President Trump’s re-election campaign. They claimed: “The conduct described in this report is more than enough to justify opening such an impeachment inquiry.”

Follow JURIST’s 2020 US election coverage here.