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Monday, November 2, 2020

Justice Department deploys monitors to protect voters in metro Detroit, Flint

Posted By on Mon, Nov 2, 2020 at 2:18 PM

click to enlarge Polling station in Detroit. - STEVE NEAVLING
  • Steve Neavling
  • Polling station in Detroit.

The Justice Department is dispatching staffers to monitor voting on Election Day in metro Detroit and Flint amid heightened concerns over voter suppression and intimidation.

The monitors from the department’s Civil Rights Division will focus on voting-rights issues in Detroit, Eastpointe, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Shelby Township, Jackson, Flint, and 37 other cities across 18 states. They will be tasked with protecting people’s right to vote, ensuring people with disabilities have access to polling location, and looking out for voter registration problems and intimidation based on race.

“Federal law entrusts the Civil Rights Division with protecting the right to vote for all Americans,” Eric S. Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “Our federal laws protect the right of all American citizens to vote without suffering discrimination, intimidation, and harassment.”

The monitors include civil rights attorneys who work with state and local election officials in the event of problems. Voters who witness possible violations are asked to call 1-800-253-3931 or file a complaint online.

As of Monday afternoon, police removed at least two poll challengers inside TCF Center in Detroit for being disruptive. One was wearing a horror mask.

President Donald Trump continues to make baseless claims about widespread voting fraud and has called for an “army” of supporters to “monitor” voting, raising concerns of intimidation on Election Day.

Attorney General Dana Nessel also is taking precautions, saying state troopers will be sent to polling places in counties where officials worry local sheriffs won’t enforce voter intimidation laws.

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