The Justice Department announced today that its Civil Rights Division plans to deploy more than 500 personnel to monitor this week’s general election in 28 states.
The key swing states of Arizona, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania are among the areas receiving federal monitors.
But despite persistent allegations of a rigged election and voter suppression, the deployment of represents a nearly 40 percent drop in the number of federal election monitors deployed during the 2012 election, “when nearly 800 were assigned to determine whether voters are subject to racial discrimination, improper barriers related to language differences or disabilities,” according to USA Today.
Since then, the Supreme Court effectively invalidated a key section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and a spate of new voter ID laws have proliferated.
Officials said the steep decline was linked to the court ruling, telling The New York Times that it “limited their ability under the Voting Rights Act to deploy observers in jurisdictions – mainly in the South – with a history of voting discrimination.”
The department’s Civil Rights Division will also have a hotline to field complaints of discrimination or voting problems (800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767, or TTY 202-305-0082).
“We enforce federal statutes related to voting through a range of activities – including filing our own litigation when the facts warrant, submitting statements of interest in private lawsuits to help explain our understanding of these laws, and providing guidance to election officials and the general public about what these laws mean and what they require,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.