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DOJ monitoring polls for illegal activity in 24 states

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in May 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
November 08, 2022

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Monday that members of its Civil Rights Division will be actively monitoring polling locations in 24 different states on election day to ensure compliance with federal voting rights laws.

The federal election monitoring effort is not unusual, but comes after former President Donald Trump raised numerous allegations of fraud in the 2020 elections. The move also comes as the DOJ, under President Joe Biden’s administration, has filed lawsuits challenging new election laws in Georgia and Arizona.

“Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Division has regularly monitored elections in the field in jurisdictions around the country to protect the rights of voters,” the DOJ said in a statement on Monday. “The Civil Rights Division will also take complaints from the public nationwide regarding possible violations of the federal voting rights laws through its call center. The Civil Rights Division enforces the federal voting rights laws that protect the rights of all citizens to access the ballot.”

The DOJ announced its election monitors would be active at polling locations across 64 different jurisdictions in the 24 select states. Those jurisdictions include:

  • City of Bethel, Alaska;
  • Dillingham Census Area, Alaska;
  • Kusilvak Census Area, Alaska;
  • Sitka City-Borough, Alaska;
  • Maricopa County, Arizona;
  • Navajo County, Arizona;
  • Pima County, Arizona;
  • Pinal County, Arizona;
  • Yavapai County, Arizona;
  • Newton County, Arkansas;
  • Los Angeles County, California;
  • Sonoma County, California;
  • Broward County, Florida;
  • Miami-Dade County, Florida;
  • Palm Beach County, Florida;
  • Cobb County, Georgia;
  • Fulton County, Georgia;
  • Gwinnett County, Georgia;
  • Town of Clinton, Massachusetts;
  • City of Everett, Massachusetts;
  • City of Fitchburg, Massachusetts;
  • City of Leominster, Massachusetts;
  • City of Malden, Massachusetts;
  • City of Methuen, Massachusetts;
  • City of Randolph, Massachusetts;
  • City of Salem, Massachusetts;
  • Prince George’s County, Maryland;
  • City of Detroit, Michigan;
  • City of Flint, Michigan;
  • City of Grand Rapids, Michigan;
  • City of Pontiac, Michigan;
  • City of Southfield, Michigan;
  • City of Minneapolis, Minnesota;
  • Hennepin County, Minnesota;
  • Ramsey County, Minnesota;
  • Cole County, Missouri;
  • Alamance County, North Carolina;
  • Columbus County, North Carolina;
  • Harnett County, North Carolina;
  • Mecklenburg County, North Carolina;
  • Wayne County, North Carolina;
  • Middlesex County, New Jersey;
  • Bernalillo County, New Mexico;
  • San Juan County, New Mexico;
  • Clark County, Nevada;
  • Washoe County, Nevada;
  • Queens County, New York;
  • Cuyahoga County, Ohio;
  • Berks County, Pennsylvania;
  • Centre County, Pennsylvania;
  • Lehigh County, Pennsylvania;
  • Luzerne County, Pennsylvania;
  • Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania;
  • City of Pawtucket, Rhode Island;
  • Horry County, South Carolina;
  • Dallas County, Texas;
  • Harris County, Texas;
  • Waller County, Texas;
  • San Juan County, Utah;
  • City of Manassas, Virginia;
  • City of Manassas Park, Virginia;
  • Prince William County, Virginia;
  • City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and,
  • City of Racine, Wisconsin.

Last year, Georgia passed a new election law that requires voter identification for absentee ballots. The new Georgia law also limited the number of absentee ballot drop boxes available but expanded the number of days allowed for early in-person voting. Following the law’s passage, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a lawsuit challenging the new law, stating the changes in Georgia’s election laws “were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of black Georgians to vote.”

In July of this year, the Biden DOJ announced it would also challenge new election rules passed in Arizona. The new Arizona law requires people to provide proof of citizenship in order to vote. The Biden DOJ alleged the particular Arizona law violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the 1964 Civil Rights Act by “imposing unlawful and unnecessary requirements that would block eligible voters from the registration rolls for certain federal elections.”

On Sunday, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft announced he was already aware of the DOJ’s election monitoring plans in Cole County, Missouri and that county election officials would deny access to the federal election monitors.

“While the U.S. DOJ could clearly learn a lot from Missouri about non-partisanship and how to administer accessible, secure and credible elections, it would be highly inappropriate for federal agents to violate the law by intimidating Missouri voters at the polls on Election Day,” Ashcroft’s office tweeted.

“Under Missouri law, the local election authority is empowered to decide who, other than voters and poll workers, may be at polling locations,” Ashcroft’s office added. “Cole County Clerk Steve Korsmeyer has rightfully declined to allow this over-reach and the secretary of state’s office fully supports him.”

“If the DOJ desires to meet to discuss this matter further, they may meet at my office instead of trying to bully a hard working county official,” Ashcroft’s office added.