DOJ to monitor voting in 19 states

DOJ to monitor voting in 19 states
© Anna Moneymaker

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Monday that it will deploy personnel to 35 voting locations in 19 states on Tuesday during the midterm elections to "monitor compliance with the federal voting rights laws."

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump's no racist; he's an equal opportunity offender Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank The Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question MORE said in a statement that the DOJ would use "every lawful tool that we have, both civil and criminal, to protect the rights of millions of Americans to cast their vote." He also said voter fraud "will not be tolerated."

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“This year we are using every lawful tool that we have, both civil and criminal, to protect the rights of millions of Americans to cast their vote unimpeded at one of more than 170,000 precincts across America," he said.

"Citizens of America control this country through their selection of their governmental officials at the ballot box. Likewise, fraud in the voting process will not be tolerated. Fraud also corrupts the integrity of the ballot," Sessions added.

The locations that the DOJ will send personnel include counties in Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

The announcement came after President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE warned in a tweet earlier Monday of "maximum criminal penalties" for anyone who votes illegally.

“Law Enforcement has been strongly notified to watch closely for any ILLEGAL VOTING which may take place in Tuesday’s Election (or Early Voting),” the president said in a tweet.

Trump in the past has often claimed that voter fraud is a widespread issue in elections. He claimed without evidence after the 2016 elections that millions of votes were cast illegally. 

Trump then formed a voter fraud commission in 2017 to investigate fraud in the 2016 election, but that commission was later disbanded after it failed to find evidence of widespread fraud.