The U.S. Justice Department announced Monday that its Civil Rights Division will deploy more than 500 personnel to 67 jurisdictions in 28 states to monitor the polls on Election Day, Nov. 8.
Although states and local governments have the primary responsibility of administering elections, the Civil Rights Division enforces the federal voting rights laws that protect the rights of all citizens to access the ballot on Election Day, and the department has been monitoring elections in the field since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a statement released by the Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs said.
“The bedrock of our democracy is the right to vote, and the Department of Justice works tirelessly to uphold that right not only on Election Day but every day,” Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said.
Lynch said that starting on Election Day, lawyers in the Civil Rights Division’s voting section will staff a hotline starting in the early-morning hours, and a “robust election monitors program” will be in place on Election Day.
“As always, our personnel will perform these duties impartially, with one goal in mind: to see to it that every eligible voter can participate in our elections to the full extent that federal law provides,” Lynch said. “The department is deeply committed to the fair and unbiased application of our voting rights laws, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that every eligible person that wants to do so is able to cast a ballot.”
Civil Rights Division staff members will be available by phone throughout Election Day to receive complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws. Individuals may file complaints by calling 800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767. In addition, they can email complaints to email@example.com or fill out a complaint form on the department’s website.
The DOJ says that any complaints related to disruption at a polling place should be referred immediately to local election officials, and people should immediately report any complaints related to violence, threats of violence or voter intimidation to local police authorities at 911.
The full list of states where department personnel will be monitoring the polls is available at the Justice Department website.