US government to monitor voting in 28 states

us-governmentWashington, (IANS) The US government has announced that on Election Day it will devote special attention to monitoring voting in 67 jurisdictions in 28 of the 50 states to guarantee that citizens – particularly minorities – may freely exercise their right to vote.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) explained that its Civil Rights Division plans on Tuesday to deploy more than 500 of its personnel in the 67 jurisdictions in question to guarantee that the election proceeds smoothly, Efe news reported.

The DOJ added that although state and local governments have “primary” responsibility for administering elections, the Civil Rights Division will be tasked with ensuring that federal voting laws protecting citizens’ rights to freely go to the polls will be adhered to.

“Complaints related to violence, threats of violence or intimidation at a polling place should be reported immediately to local police authorities by calling 911. They should also be reported to the department after local authorities have been contacted,” said the DOJ in its statement.

“On Election Day itself, lawyers in the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section will staff a hotline starting in the early hours of the morning, and just as we have sent election monitors in prior elections, we will continue to have a robust election monitors programme in place on election day,” said US Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

“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,” she added.

The state with the most electoral districts to be monitored is Connecticut, with seven, followed by North Carolina and Florida, with five each and Alaska with four.

The states where three jurisdictions will be monitored will be Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Georgia and California.

The department will gather information on whether voters are asked to show an identity document prior to being issued a ballot or if they are subjected to discriminatory practices due to their race, skin colour or native language.

In addition, “allegations of election fraud” will be handled by the 94 US Attorneys’ Offices across the country and the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, the statement added.

Medaram Jathara

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