Feds sending election monitors to Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties
More than 60 jurisdictions in 24 states are also receiving lawyers who work for the federal government
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The U.S. Justice Department is sending election monitors to three metro Atlanta counties, along with more than 60 other jurisdictions in 24 states, in an effort, according to the department, to ensure compliance with federal voting rights laws.
Fulton, Cobb and Gwinnett counties are among the communities in which election monitors are being sent, according to the department.
“Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Division has regularly monitored elections in the field in jurisdictions around the country to protect the rights of voters,” the department said late Monday afternoon. “The Civil Rights Division will also take complaints from the public nationwide regarding possible violations of the federal voting rights laws through its call center. The Civil Rights Division enforces the federal voting rights laws that protect the rights of all citizens to access the ballot.”
The monitors, according to the Associated Press, are lawyers who work for the U.S. government. They are not law enforcement officers or federal agents. They generally include lawyers from the Justice Department’s civil rights division and U.S. attorney’s offices across the nation. The government also sometimes brings in employees from other agencies, such as the Office of Personnel Management, who are authorized to act as monitors under a federal court order.
Full coverage Georgia 2022 midterm elections
Georgia has two of the nation’s most-watched races. Gov. Brian Kemp is being challenged by Democrat Stacey Abrams in his re-election bid, and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock is virtually tied with Republican Herschel Walker in his bid for a full, six-year term in a race that could determine the Senate’s balance of power for at least the next two years.
A lawsuit was filed on Sunday by the ACLU of Georgia, ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Dechert LLP that seeks emergency relief for hundreds of Cobb County absentee voters to have enough time to cast their votes, according to officials.
RELATED: More than 1K absentee ballots never mailed to Cobb County voters, officials say
Officials say the lawsuit “seeks to send ballots overnight to hundreds of voters who still need their absentee ballots and move the deadline from 7 p.m. on Election Day to Nov. 14.”
RELATED: Confidence in poll workers, election officials high in Georgia, 4 other battleground states
More than 2.5 million Georgians have already cast early and absentee ballots ahead of Tuesday’s election, including record number of African Americans. But despite this historic turnout, Georgia’s voter laws are still restricting the Black vote, according to groups such as Black Voters Matter.
“Absolutely, Georgia’s voting laws are still an example of Jim Crow 2.0,” said LaTosha Brown, who, along with Cliff Albright, began Black Voters Matter in 2016. “When I can’t go to a voting site and hand out water; when another voter can look at me and challenge whether I’m a legitimate voter, these are examples of more sophisticated tools being used to marginalize voters that create restricted access to ballots and create a culture of fear.”
Full coverage of Georgia’s 2022 midterms
Interim Deputy Secretary of State Gabe Sterling has said repeatedly there are no signs of voter suppression.
“Essentially, voter suppression isn’t real,” said Sterling last week. “It’s as real as voter fraud is.”
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