DoJ dispatches election monitors to monitor... election observers

There’s been plenty of controversy (at least in the media) about requests from conservative groups to have election observers watching the comings and goings at polling places today to keep an eye out for irregularities, voter fraud and other potential problems. One justification for these actions is that the government, both Federal and local, isn’t doing enough to control such violations so citizens need to step up to the plate. Now you can all rest easy. It turns out that the Department of Justice actually has dispatched hundreds of election monitors to precincts in 28 states. Problem solved, right?

There’s one catch. They aren’t there to look for voter fraud. They’ve been sent to keep an eye on the election observers. (Government Executive)

Amid scattered news reports of threats of private citizens challenging voters’ eligibility on Election Day, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is sending more than 500 trained and multi-lingual employees to polling stations in 67 jurisdictions in 28 states, the department announced on Monday.

“The bedrock of our democracy is the right to vote, and the Department of Justice works tirelessly to uphold that right not only on Election Day, but every day,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “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.”

The list of states where you might run into such monitors includes:

Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Those are some interesting choices. A few of them are obvious because they are swing states and there will be heightened scrutiny of pretty much everything. So Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio were natural picks. But notice that the list also includes places where Republicans have been expressing concerns over potential voter fraud in large Democratic strongholds. There’s Pennsylvania. (Do you suppose that means Philadelphia?) New York, California (Los Angeles), Illinois (Chicago) and New Jersey (Newark) are all on the list. You wouldn’t want a bunch of people hanging around watching the voting, now would you?

The Attorney General herself admitted recently that they need to tread carefully when sending out such monitors from the federal level. That’s because the provisions of the Voting Rights Act which allow such activity were “severely curtailed” (in Lynch’s words) by the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder. It’s too late to do anything about it now, but if real disputes arise I’d expect to see some challenges coming from this after the fact.

With all the complaints we’ve covered where people’s absentee ballots were stolen, filled in and submitted without their approval, dead people voting and various other schemes, wouldn’t you suppose that the DoJ would be sending people out to check on that? But no. They’ll just target the places where people are trying to identify such shenanigans so they can be reported. Well played, Democrats.