Providence, Pawtucket 2016 polls will be monitored by Dept. of Justice

(WPRI/ Julianne Peixoto)
(WPRI/ Julianne Peixoto)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WPRI) — Though state and local governments shoulder the primary responsibility for running elections, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is deploying personnel to 28 states to monitor polls and enforce federal voting rights laws, “protecting the rights of all citizens to access the ballot on Election Day,” the office said Monday.

Polls in Providence and Pawtucket are among the 67 jurisdictions that will be monitored Tuesday, by a corps of more than 500 personnel across the country.

The department regularly monitors elections in the field to protect voter rights, the office said in a news release.

“Just as we have sent election monitors in prior elections, we will continue to have a robust election monitors program in place on election day,” said U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. “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.

“We will work tirelessly to ensure that every eligible person that wants to do so is able to cast a ballot,” Lynch added.

The department is also taking complaints or concerns about possible violations of federal voting rights laws by phone, email, fax or website forms.

Several towns in Connecticut are also included (East Hartford, Farmington, Hartford, Middletown, New Britain, Newington and West Hartford), as well as Quincy, Mass., in addition to several towns in Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania, to name a few.

Monitors will be tracking, among several functions, whether voters are subjected to different voting qualifications or procedures based on race, color or the language they speak, blindness or disability, or the ability to read or write.