The U.S. Justice Department is dispatching more than 500 monitors and observers to watch polling sites in 28 states on Election Day, it announced on Monday.
“We will work tirelessly to ensure that every eligible person that wants to do so is able to cast a ballot,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.
The Justice Department will deploy more than 500 personnel to 67 jurisdictions in 28 states for the general election Tuesday
The number is a reduction of about a third from the more than 780 monitors who were deployed during the 2012 election. On Tuesday they will be stationed in 67 jurisdictions across the country to keep track of any voting irregularities. They will be watching for voting rights violations, such as whether voters are discriminated against because of their races or languages.
“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 on Monday.
Of the 500 people who will be deployed, those sent to Alabama, Alaska, California, Louisiana and New York will be election “observers” with full access to the polls. Those dispatched to the other 23 states will be “monitors,” meaning they don’t have the statutory authority to access polling sites, which will have to be granted by state and local authorities. This is a result of the 2013 Supreme Court decision striking down parts of the Voting Rights Act, which limits the Justice Department’s ability send observers with unrestricted access.
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 Lynch
Justice Department monitors won’t be the only ones keeping a close eye on polling stations. Donald Trump has called on his supporters to look for signs of voter fraud on Election Day, and has repeatedly alleged that the election may be “rigged.”
Voters should report any threats of violence or intimidation to the police, and alert their local election officials about any disruptions at their polling place, the department said on Monday.
Lawyers with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which enforces federal voting rights laws, will also staff a hotline on Election Day.