Justice Department sending staff to Cuyahoga County to monitor voting

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– Cuyahoga County is among the locations nationwide where the U.S. Department of Justice is dispatching staffers Tuesday to help ensure sure voting is fair.

“Judging by the high numbers of early voting and vote by mail, we know there is a lot of passion surrounding this election. We know a lot of people will be watching what we do,” said Mike West, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections manager of community outreach.

“Our elections are transparent. I don’t want to say we welcome their attention, but there is nothing wrong with federal people being here to watch what we do and how we do it,” West said.

On Monday, the DOJ announced Cuyahoga County is one of the 44 jurisdictions across the U.S. selected for monitoring during Tuesday’s general election. According to West, the DOJ does not tell them which polling places they will visit.

“We are also trying to pay attention to detail, do everything by the book and accommodate voters.  There is an element of pressure because we know the eyes of the nation are on Ohio and Cuyahoga County,” West said.

According to the Justice Department, staff will be on call to enforce federal voting rights laws, which include language access and prohibiting voter discrimination, intimidation, or harassment. They went on to say in a statement, “Every federal election year, the Department makes a new assessment of where the Department should be, and send out staff based on that assessment for that year.”

“This is not new. Over a decade ago, the DOJ got us involved in providing services to Spanish-speaking voters and we’ve been doing that ever since,” West said.

Anyone who witnesses voter discrimination, intimidation or harassment on Election Day can do so on the department’s website.

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