The Justice Department is sending election monitors to 28 jurisdictions in 18 states
Midterms are first national elections since court repealed part of Voting Rights Act
Attorney general: Monitors will watch for discrimination based on ethnicity, disabilities
The Justice Department is dispatching election monitors to 18 states to watch for discrimination against minority and disabled voters in Tuesday’s midterms.
Monitors from the department’s Civil Rights Division will be in 28 jurisdictions throughout Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
“This year, as citizens across the country go to the polls on Election Day, I want the American people to know that the Justice Department will stand vigilant – working in a fair and nonpartisan manner to ensure that every voter – every voter – can cast his or her ballot free of intimidation, discrimination or obstruction,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a video message announcing plans to send out the monitors.
The midterms will be the first elections since the Shelby County v. Holder case that saw the Supreme Court strike down portions of the Voting Rights Act that required some states to clear changes in their voting procedures with the Justice Department before implementing those changes.
Holder said the monitors will gather information on local polling practices and watch to be sure voters aren’t treated differently based on their ethnicity, that disabled people are able to access their voting locations, that provisional ballot requirements are followed and that bilingual election materials are provided.
He also blasted “restrictive measures” like states’ voter identification laws that make it “more difficult to vote.”
The Justice Department said voters can report complaints about voting restrictions by calling 1-800-253-3931, by fax at 202-307-3961 and by email at email@example.com.