The Justice Department announced on Friday that its Civil Rights Division will send almost 800 federal election monitors to 23 states for Tuesday’s presidential election.
The sending out of election monitors has been a standard practice for the Justice Department since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, which bars discrimination in elections, according to The Washington Post.
Some election observers will be going to states that are covered under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires jurisdictions with a history of discriminatory voting practices to receive approval before they make any changes to their election laws. Those states are Texas, South Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia,and Alaska.
Parts of Florida, Georgia, California, North Carolina, New York, South Dakota, Michigan, and New Hampshire are also included. Four locations in Ohio will also be under observation on Tuesday. These election monitors will join an array of civil rights and voter fraud watchdog groups who will watch the polls.
The federal election monitors going to 23 states will likely be more accepted in Texas than the UN-linked international observer group called OSCE. The group was asked to come to the US by a number of domestic groups, including the NAACP and American Civil Liberties Union, notes RT.com.
The organization is sending 44 observers to the US, including some to Texas — a fact that the Lone Star State is none too happy with. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent a letter to the White House about the organization, saying:
“The OSCE’s representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place. It may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance. Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.”
The Justice Department’s federal election monitors will have no problem entering Texas polling places, however, since the Voting Rights Act requires them to be there. The Department’s announcement added that the observers and department personnel will “gather information on, among other things, whether voters are subject to different voting qualifications or procedures on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.”
Federal election observers will be responsible for overseeing 17 jurisdictions while the Justice Department personnel will monitor 34. CNN notes that the federal election monitors will be present in 23 states to look for any kind of discrimination based on languages and ethnicity, along with ensuring that voters with disabilities are accommodated.
The election observers will also be making sure that there will be no procedures used that subject voters to a different procedure based on their race, color, or national origin.