The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Monday that it will send monitors to 24 states in an effort to ensure compliance with the rule of law and federal voting rights in the midterm elections this Tuesday. The announcement comes as civil rights groups warn of potential voter intimidation at ballot boxes.
The DOJ monitors will be lawyers from the department’s civil rights division who will be able to initiate civil action in the event that the right to vote is infringed. The monitors are able to bring actions under the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act, and other statutes protecting the right to vote.
The selected counties are areas where concern has been raised by local law enforcement or DOJ authorities over the potential for interference with the right to vote. Some of the listed counties have been sued by the DOJ in the past for civil rights violations.
The enforcement mechanism of the DOJ’s action requires voters to report any illegal behavior to either local law enforcement or to the election monitors themselves:
Complaints related to disruption at a polling place should always be reported immediately to local election officials (including officials in the polling place). Complaints related to violence, threats of violence or intimidation at a polling place should be reported immediately to local police authorities by calling 911. These complaints should also be reported to the department after local authorities have been contacted.
This announcement follows another recent DOJ press release which listed the efforts the department is taking to ensure voting rights are protected across the country.