The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Monday that it will “monitor” polling places in two Nebraska counties during Tuesday Republican primaries for possible civil rights violations.
Attorney General Eric Holder’s DOJ will assign monitors to patrol polling places and will send representatives from its embattled civil rights division to enforce civil rights laws.
Former Bush administration official Ben Sasse and former State Treasurer Shane Osborn are vying Tuesday in Nebraska’s Republican U.S. Senate primary. Omaha banker Sid Disndale is gaining in the three-way race, despite conservative criticism that he would “give Barack Obama a blank check.” Primary elections are also being held in Nebraska Tuesday for the offices of governor, attorney general and state auditor.
“The Justice Department announced today that it will monitor elections on May 13, 2014, in Colfax and Douglas Counties, Nebraska, to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting rights statutes. The Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group,” according to DOJ.
“In Colfax County, the department will assign federal observers from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to monitor polling place activities based on a court order. The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in this jurisdiction, and Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials,” DOJ stated. “In addition, department personnel will monitor polling place activities in Douglas County. A Civil Rights Division attorney will coordinate federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.”
“Each year, the department deploys federal observers from OPM and departmental staff to monitor elections across the country,” according to DOJ.
DOJ’s Civil Rights Division is currently trying, through a little-noticed provision, to gain considerably more power to litigate voting rights lawsuits. As The Daily Caller reported in December, President Obama’s nominee to head the DOJ civil rights division, Debo Adegbile, previously represented cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal during his time at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Adegbile’s confirmation was blocked by Republican and Democratic senators.