The Department of Justice plans to send federal monitors to 18 states to watch for discrimination against voters.
Monitors will head to Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
“I want the American people to know that the Justice Department will stand vigilant — working in a fair and nonpartisan manner to ensure that every voter can cast his or her ballot free of intimidation, discrimination or obstruction,” he said.
This is the first major federal election since the Supreme Court overturned parts of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder.
The Court ruled that the formula used to determine which states needed to clear voting rights changes by the Justice Department was unconstitutional. That allowed nine states, as well as some counties in other states, to change voting laws without checking with the Justice Department to ensure that the changes aren’t discriminatory.
Holder used his statement to slam voter ID laws in a number of states. He called those laws “restrictive,” “burdensome” and “out of step with history.” But he emphasized that the Justice Department has to protect existing laws.
The DOJ will also have toll-free lines for voters to bring civil rights complaints, as well as the email address email@example.com and a fax number. It will also work with the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys Office to investigate election crimes.