Justice Department Will Monitor Elections in Detroit and 6 Other Michigan Cities

November 02, 2020, 5:54 PM by  Allan Lengel


The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is sending employees to monitor polls on Tuesday in Detroit and six other Michigan cities to watch for voter intimidation or other problems.

“Our federal laws protect the right of all American citizens to vote without suffering discrimination, intimidation and harassment," says Eric S. Dreiband, assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, in a statement. "The work of the Civil Rights Division around each federal general election is a continuation of its historical mission to ensure that all of our citizens can freely exercise this most fundamental American right.”

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit, which is part of the Justice Department, will send 21 people from the office, including attorneys and support staff, to monitor elections in Detroit, Eastpointe, Flint, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Shelby Township and Jackson. 

"We will be rotating to different polling locations within each jurisdiction and staying outside only, due to Covid-19 concerns," U.S. Attorney spokesperson Gina Balaya tells Deadline Detroit.

The department headed by Attorney General William Barr also will monitor 37 other jurisdictions in 17 additional states. Michigan has the largest number of monitored cities, followed by Florida with six. 

In November 2016, Democratic Attorney General Loretta Lynch's staff sent more than 500 election monitors to 67 jurisdictions in 28 states.

On Election Day, Civil Rights Division personnel will be available to take complaints from the public on possible voting violations by filling out a form on the department website or by calling (800) 253-3931.

The Justice Department suggests calling local police first to report polling place disruptions, violence or intimidation. Those complaints should also be reported to the Justice Department after local authorities have been called. 

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