In a climate where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has asked his supporters to “monitor” elections and has repeatedly called the system “rigged,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch this week released a video discussing this year’s elections and how the federal government will play a part in monitoring them.
Considering that this is the first presidential contest in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act and voter suppression is in full effect, Lynch notes that the Department of Justice will dispatch hundreds of federal monitors to polling places around the country. Lynch specifically noted the 2013 Shelby v. Holder case in the video—in which the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act—and said that she is proud that her Justice Department has challenged many of the subversions of this law.
“The most fundamental right that we enjoy as Americans is the right to choose our leaders at the ballot box,” begins Lynch. “Attempts to abridge that right not only run counter to federal law, they contradict the defining spirit of our democracy."
“I want the American people to know,” she continues, “that we stand ready to ensure that every voter can cast his or her ballot free of unlawful intimidation, discrimination or obstruction.”
The trained federal officials will be “deployed to half of 50 states” and will gather information on numerous aspects of local election procedures, including whether voters are treated differently depending on their race or color; whether jurisdictions are adequately serving individuals with disabilities; whether jurisdictions are complying with the provisional ballot requirements of the Help America Vote Act; and whether jurisdictions are complying with the Voting Rights Act’s requirement to provide bilingual election materials and assistance in areas of need.
Read more at the U.S. Department of Justice.