Updated Nov 7, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DOJ to monitor polls in 24 states for compliance with voting rights laws

Police officers walk through a polling station during early voting ahead of the US midterm elections in Los Angeles, California.

Police officers walk through a polling station in California. Photo: Robyn/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department announced Monday it will monitor polls in 24 states for compliance with federal voting rights laws during the Nov. 8, 2022 midterms.

Why it matters: The decision comes as U.S. election officials grow increasingly concerned over voter intimidation and potential voter disruptions, putting battleground states on heightened alert.

Details: The DOJ said it will monitor 64 jurisdictions in 24 states for the general election Tuesday. See the full list here.

  • The Civil Rights Division has monitored elections to protect voter rights since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, said the DOJ.
  • Monitors include those working in the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorneys’ Office. There will be monitors from the Office of Personnel Management if authorized by a federal court order.
  • Civil Rights Division personnel will also take complaints from the public over voting rights law violations, the department said.
  • Any reports of “violence, threats of violence or intimidation” should be reported to local authorities first and then the DOJ, the department said.

The DOJ did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

The big picture: U.S. election officials are worried about efforts to disrupt the 2022 midterm elections, including voter intimidation, the spread of misinformation and threats against poll workers.

  • In two separate incidents in Colorado and Pennsylvania, election deniers have signed on to work as poll watchers.
  • In Arizona, the Maricopa County elections office recorded at least 140 threats against election workers between July 11 and Aug. 11 of this year, Axios' Jacob Knutson reports.

What they’re saying: Mary McCord, executive director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, told Axios that attacks and threats during the midterms are from a "very ground-up, localized effort."

  • "We've seen a GOP candidate in Idaho have an effigy hung in his yard," she told Axios. "We've seen a Democratic candidate in eastern Washington be shot with a BB gun while putting up signs."
  • "These are very localized efforts. They're very threatening, and they continue to grow."
Go deeper