FBI, Jus­tice Depart­ment prep for Elec­tion Day se­cu­rity con­cerns

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

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”.

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”.


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