Thu | Aug 24, 2017

FBI, Justice Dept prep for Election Day security concerns

Published:Wednesday | October 26, 2016 | 10:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AP):

The Justice Department and FBI say they will have officials ready on election day to respond to potential crimes, with monitors at select polling places and lawyers who will field complaints on voter intimidation, fraud and other problems.

In addition, a centralised command post at FBI headquarters will monitor specific threats reported across the country.

A Justice Department statement on Tuesday outlining its election-day response, said attorneys from the civil rights and criminal division would work to ensure that voters have their ballots "counted free of discrimination, intimidation or fraud in the election process".

 

UNUSUAL ATTENTION

 

The department relies on its lawyers, investigators and other staff in all elections, but the fairness of this year's election process has attracted unusual public attention.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly warned, without evidence, that the November 8 election could be "rigged." US intelligence officials have said the Russians appear to be interfering with the election process through hacking. And the Justice Department has warned that it'll have fewer election observers in the field as a result of a 2013 US Supreme Court opinion that gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

The exact number of observers and other personnel at the polls will not be revealed until closer to election day.

The Justice Department says lawyers in its civil rights division will field complaints regarding voter intimidation and discrimination and other efforts to suppress the vote on the basis of race, gender, religion and national origin. Lawyers from the criminal division will respond to complaints about election fraud, such as vote buying or submission of multiple ballots.

The FBI command post will involve the Justice Department and the Homeland Security Department. The FBI said the command post would assist local field offices and "ensure that allegations relating to violations of federal criminal law and security threats to the election are appropriately handled".