In an attempt to prevent discrimination against voters, the Justice Department has sent federal poll monitors to 18 states for Election Day, including Texas where controversial new voter identification laws are being introduced.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the monitors will be watching for race-based discrimination as well as lack of resources for bilingual voters and individuals with disabilities.
"I want the American people to know that the Justice Department will stand vigilant — working in a fair and nonpartisan manner to ensure that every voter can cast his or her ballot free of intimidation, discrimination or obstruction," the attorney general said in a video
"One of the Justice Department’s most sacred responsibilities is ensuring access to the ballet box for every eligible American," he said.
"Over the last six years, (we) have taken robust action to safeguard this fundamental right challenging unnecessarily restrictive proposals like certain ID laws, advocating for accessible polling places, and fighting back against redistricting proposals and early voting limits that may prevent many Americans from making their voices heard."
Holder said that 28 jurisdictions were chosen
for the monitoring based on "independent and nonpartisan consideration and expertise" after receiving information from "a wide variety of citizens and groups."
The Justice Department has been fighting to overturn stricter voter-identification laws and limits on early voting because it says they prevent people from voting, especially among minorities, according to The Washington Post
But the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a major blow in the fight against ID laws last month by ruling that Texas can use its new voter identification law for the Nov. 4 election.
A majority of the justices rejected an emergency request from the Justice Department and civil rights groups to prohibit the state from requiring voters to produce certain forms of photo identification
in order to cast ballots.
A lower court had ruled that the law was unconstitutional, and that it would prevent hundreds of thousands of voters from casting ballots, particularly African Americans and Hispanics, the Post reported.
The Justice Department, meanwhile, filed "a statement of interest" earlier this year to support a legal challenge to an Ohio law that limits early voting, according to the Post.
The agency will be monitoring three jurisdictions in Ohio and two in Texas on Election Day, while officials will be keeping an eye on four jurisdictions in Florida, the most of any state.
The department has posted a full list of monitoring locations
on its website.
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