Nearly 1,000 federal, international monitors will observe Election Day voting

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Monday that its civil rights division will send over 500 election monitors to 28 states, which includes 67 jurisdictions, to observe election proceedings on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

While over half of all states will have voting monitors on the ground, only four are required to allow DOJ personnel full access to observe all voting procedures at a given polling location, as determined by a federal court.

Certain jurisdictions in California, New York, Louisiana and Alaska will employ “observers” while “monitors” in 24 other states must be granted permission by local and state election officials to gain complete overseer privileges.

“In most cases, voters on the ground will see very little practical difference,” said Vanita Gupta, assistant attorney general for civil rights. “We work closely and cooperatively with jurisdictions around the country to ensure that trained personnel are able to keep an eye on the proceedings from an immediate vantage point.”

In 2012, DOJ sent 780 monitors and observers to ensure voting proceeded in accordance with federal law on Election Day. However, the Supreme Court struck down a section of the Voting Rights Act in the 2013 case, Shelby County v. Holder. The 1965 law required federal observers be deployed in certain jurisdictions with a history of voter intimidation or discrimination.

In addition to U.S. federal election monitors, two international groups, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organization of American States will send more than 400 observers to oversee voting on Tuesday in at least 36 states, including California, New York, Colorado and Wisconsin.

OSCE will release an initial draft of its observation notes on the U.S. general election Wednesday, Nov. 9.


[Reuters] [CNN] [ABC News] [Photo courtesy Office of the Election Supervisor of Bay County/OSCE via]