DOJ sends voting rights monitors, observers to 23 states
November 2nd, 2012
02:54 PM ET
8 years ago

DOJ sends voting rights monitors, observers to 23 states

Washington (CNN) - The Justice Department Friday announced that it is dispatching more than 780 federal observers and monitors to 23 states to watch for potential problems which would violate voting rights protected by federal law.

The Justice Department said it was sending observers to 51 jurisdictions in those states to help enforce federal voting rights laws which protect ballot access.

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In addition to concern about discrimination based on languages and ethnicity, the federal officials will be ensuring voters with disabilities are accommodated, and ensuring that no procedures are used to subject voters to different procedures on the basis of race, color or national origin.

Many of the locations being targeted for the 2012 general election have appeared on similar lists for past elections. Justice officials say the federal monitors will maintain low profile positions, and will not be involved in the voting process unless problems arise.

The total of 780 officials is about the same size as the contingent sent to watch the 2008 presidential election.

Jon Greenbaum, Chief Counsel for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, says his organization is generally pleased with the locations selected for federal monitoring. The organization successfully pushed, for example, for monitors to be sent to Maricopa County, Arizona because of potential problems for Hispanic voters, and the group noted potential for discrimination against black voters in Alabama and Mississippi counties.

Historic incidents of discrimination against Native American voters prompted observers to be sent to Shannon County, South Dakota, and Sandoval County, New Mexico, Greenbaum said. In Chicago, several ethnic minorities have suffered incidents in the past, including lack of poll workers who spoke Chinese, South Asian, or other minority languages. A growing Muslim population in Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan also had caused issues for native Arab and Middle Eastern language speakers at polling places, Greenbaum said.

The trained federal observers will be watching over voting procedures at polling locations in Russell County, Alabama; Maricopa County, Arizona; Alameda and Riverside Counties in California; Randolph County in Georgia; East Carroll Parish, Louisiana; Paola County, Mississippi; Colfax County, Nebraska; Sandoval, County, New Mexico; Orange County, New York; Cuyahoga and Lorain Counties in Ohio; Williamsburg County, South Carolina; Shannon County, South Dakota; and Dallas, Fort Bend, and Jefferson Counties in Texas.

In addition Justice Department lawyers are being sent to Mobile County, Alabama; Pima County, Arizona; The city of Denver and Arapahoe County, Colorado; Duval, Hendry, Hillsborough, Lee, Miami-Dade, Orange and Osceola counties in Florida.

Chicago and Cook County, Illinois; LaPorte County, Indiana; Finney County, Kansas; Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan; Alamance and Wake Counties in North Carolina; Bernalillo and Cibola Counties in New Mexico; Queens County, New York; Franklin and Hamilton Counties in Ohio; Allegheny, Chester, Delaware and Lehigh Counties and the city of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania; Richland County, South Carolina; Davidson and Shelby Counties in Tennessee; Harris County, in Texas; and Milwaukee in Wisconsin.

Filed under: 2012 • Justice Department • Voter Problems
soundoff (70 Responses)

    Good. We're not interested in a repeat of 2000.

    November 2, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. Expat American

    I hope that the DOJ is ready for the onslaught of Republican voter suppression tactics.
    Romney has dispatched his son to monitor ballot machines.

    November 2, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Obamasupporter

    Thank God!

    November 2, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    Good! The Republicans have proven over and over again that they want to steal this election.

    Voters, don't let Republicans intimidate you when you go to the polls. Since September, the GOP has been training "poll watchers" in tactics to purposefully confuse and intimidate voters in Democratic districts. Don't listen to any of them! Stand strong and exercise your right to vote! Show your support for all those who have sacrificed to guarantee this freedom!

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    November 2, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. NameVicki Quinn

    Flags at the Justice Department is providing observers. There's a lot of that would like to sabotage the election.

    November 2, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. Ind.

    Would the organizations name be "The New Black Panthers"? OR the U.N. observeres?

    November 2, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. Ind.

    Holder going to uphold his racism in the elections?

    November 2, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. DENNA

    They had better. The GOP have made no secret that voter suppression is part of their plan. Not only are they dishonest, they are stupid and arrogant enough to say to out loud.

    November 2, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Dave Jaipersaud

    We need observers given the dishonest nature of Romney and the Republicans.

    Romney is the most dishonest person ever to run for President. Romney has no morals and is a man with no core. He cheated many decent folks out of their retirement and their jobs in order to stuff his pocket while at Bain. He will lie, cheat, steal and change his position in a heartbeat to sound reasonable and con people to vote for him and then he will change back to the most unreasonable person that he truly is. DON"T FALL FOR IT. He is the worst of the worst con artist. Romney and the Republicans would let the States fend for themselves even if they are hit by a natural disaster. The Republican agenda is everyone is for themselves and to hell with everyone else. That is not the American way and we MUST not fall for what the Republicans are selling. Remember the last time we bought what they were selling? It was not that long ago. And remember what happened? We almost lost everything. We MUST never forget. DO NOT BUY WHAT THEY ARE SELLING.

    Romney has changed is position on almost everything that he had a position on. Have you forgotten how many times he changed his positions on taxes, abortion, assault weapons, equal pay for women, regulations, immigration, debt, spending, role of government, jobs, foreign policy. One day he supports something and the next day he is opposed to that same something. This shows that the man has no ethics, no integrity, no sense of honesty. Are these the qualities we should aspire too? I think not

    November 2, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. Gurgyl


    November 2, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. jkane sfl a vote for lady parts romney the tax cheat and lyin lady parts ryan willcut your moms medicare and soc sec . .can you afford to pay for them???

    Everybody knows the gop is trying to fix this election and they will pay the price ?????

    November 2, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. giftedgirl77

    Hopefully they wil be sending them to Iowa,Wisconsin, and Ohio where the Romney klan has actually trained people on voter intimidation tactics.

    November 2, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. jkane sfl a vote for lady parts romney the tax cheat and lyin lady parts ryan willcut your moms medicare and soc sec . .can you afford to pay for them???

    They abourt send the gop to gitmo with romney and Ryan and their families!!!!

    November 2, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "the GOP has been training "poll watchers" in tactics to purposefully confuse and intimidate voters in Democratic districts. Don't listen to any of them! "

    Indeed. Just exercise your 1st Amendment rigth to tell them to eff off.

    November 2, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Ind.

    If you're intimidated by a new black panther do the world a favor...............

    November 2, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. The Situation

    You hear that Mitts, you and your pathetic son are not going to pull a Bonnie and Clyde robbery like the Bush Brothers did in 2000.

    November 2, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. Ind.

    2008 election proved that demcorats will go to literally any length to keep their messiah in the White House.

    November 2, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Never forget, Whites stoodup for Blacks for Civil Rights and Voting Rights and they still stand with us, we as Black people didn't do it alone. Because of those that stood together paved the way for all people. Don't turn back now and don't turn against your "Brothers and Sisters" no matter the color of their skin, etc.

    November 2, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. Mee

    Considering that Ohio has already thrown out thousands of absentee ballots (from mostly Democratic areas) and the same thing has happened in Florida, someone in authority needs to be watching over the entire voting process to make sure that people are allowed to vote and aren't being intimidated by GOP operatives.

    November 2, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. BLKMANinAmerica

    Good, but everyone out here needs to "monitor" the more eyes the better for America.

    November 2, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. mm

    Hopefully they are sending some to PA....what is going on up there is really underhanded.

    November 2, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. Marie

    Great! The cowards in the Tea Thug Party whose candidate hasn't campaigned with any honor or dignity won't be scraping up any so that he can win without cheating when Election Day comes and they need to be kept in check.They are terrified bullies just like their leaders.

    November 2, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. truth hurts

    It looks like the Obama adminstration might be getting desperate to save his re-election. Will the leftist dictator use the Justice Dept. to overturn his defeat next Tuesday and stay in office? Stay tuned. Obama and Holder have shown over the last several years they are willing to bludgeon and intimidate states into doing what they want.

    November 2, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  24. just sayin

    better not be any new black panthers blocking our polling places. i'm sure the justice dept. will be right on top of that right? Especially after letting them get away with it in 2008. the leftists are getting desperate so it might be time to defend our democracy. it was coming eventually.

    November 2, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  25. Bill

    This is excellent news. Keep Rove and his sleazebag operatives from rigging the vote or intimidating folks. Thanksfully, the Democrats learned a tough lesson in 2000, and will not allow such a debacle to occur again.

    November 2, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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