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Federal Officials Will Monitor Polling Places Around The Country

On Monday and Tuesday, FiveThirtyEight will partner with BillyPenn, a website that covers the Philadelphia area, to provide reporting about the voting process in the city. This is the first of those dispatches, which will also appear on our election live blog on Tuesday.


PHILADELPHIA — The U.S. Justice Department announced Monday it will monitor polling places in Philadelphia, New York City, Miami, Dallas and 63 other cities and counties on Election Day. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement that the department will enforce federal statutes by filing litigation, submitting statements of interest in private lawsuits and working with election officials and members of the public in interpreting laws.

“As always, our personnel will perform these duties impartially, with one goal in mind: to see to it that every eligible voter can participate in our elections to the full extent that federal law provides,” Lynch said.

The Department said that complaints related to disruption at a polling place should be reported immediately to local election officials. On Election Day, lawyers for the DOJ will be staffing a hotline all day (toll free at 1-800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767 or TTY 202-305-0082) and “will continue to have a robust election monitors program in place,” Lynch said.

The move comes amid nationwide concerns about voter fraud and voter intimidation, stoked by criticism of the process from Donald Trump and suggestions that his supporters closely watch the polls. The city of Philadelphia has beefed up its Election Fraud Task Force, making available every assistant district attorney who’s not due in court to respond to problems at the polls. In addition, a federal judge this morning tossed a Pennsylvania lawsuit that accused Trump’s campaign of engaging in voter intimidation and suppression in the state. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party had filed suit last week against the Trump campaign, the Pennsylvania Republican Party and a pro-Trump poll watcher site.

Anna Orso is a reporter with BillyPenn, a website that covers the Philadelphia area.

Cassie Owens is a reporter with BillyPenn, a website that covers the Philadelphia area.

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