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Feds to monitor polls in Brooklyn and Queens on Election Day

Who to call if you have trouble voting

November 7, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Federal monitors will be overseeing polls in Brooklyn and Queens during Tuesday’s general election. Photo by Mary Frost

To forestall even the appearance of hanky panky, the Justice Department announced on Monday that its Civil Rights Division plans to deploy personnel to Brooklyn and Queens to monitor Tuesday’s general election.

The poll-monitoring plan is part of a broader monitoring effort deploying 500 personnel to 67 jurisdictions in 28 states.

Over the summer, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez asked the agency to send federal monitors following the voting purge scandal that erroneously removed more than 122,000 Brooklyn voters from the rolls of registered voters.

According to a report by WNYC, voters in Hispanic majority districts were removed from the voting rolls at a rate 60 percent greater than others, including in Velázquez’s 7th District.

In several states with early voting, including Nevada and Florida, Hispanics have been turning out in large numbers, apparently to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump has made numerous negative comments about Hispanics over the course of his campaign, characterizing Mexicans as rapists and drug smugglers, and vowing to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S.

“The bedrock of our democracy is the right to vote, and the Department of Justice works tirelessly to uphold that right not only on Election Day, but every day,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

Along with the monitors, lawyers in the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section will staff a hotline starting in the early hours on Tuesday.

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“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,” Lynch said.

Civil Rights Division staff members will be available by telephone to receive complaints related to possible violations of the federal voting rights laws (toll free at 1-800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767 or TTY 202-305-0082).  In addition, individuals may also report complaints by fax to 202-307-3961, by email to [email protected] and by a complaint form on the department’s website: www.justice.gov/crt/votercomplaint

Complaints may also be directed the local U.S. Attorneys’ Office (for Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island it’s the Eastern District at 718-254-7000, fax: 718-254-7508), the local FBI offices or the Public Integrity Section at 202-514-1412.

Complaints related to violence, threats of violence or intimidation at a polling place should be reported immediately to local police authorities by calling 911.  They should also be reported to the department after local authorities have been contacted.

To find your polling site, visit nyc.pollsitelocator.com/search

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