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Rep. Frederica Wilson asked Justice Department to look into Miami-Dade early voting

Democratic U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson said Friday she alerted federal authorities to political operatives who are preying on older immigrants in an attempt to manipulate their votes at the North Miami Public Library.

That’s why, she said, the U.S. Justice Department announced Friday that it will monitor early voting in Miami-Dade. Federal investigators are monitoring just two other U.S. counties — Dallas and Harris in Texas.

Wilson, a Miami Gardens Democrat, said her office has received several complaints of people assisting older immigrants into the library, and manipulating them into voting for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Wilson said she also complained that Gov. Rick Scott declined to extend early voting hours in Miami-Dade, despite long lines.

Assisting people in voting booths is allowed, so long as the voter and the assistant fill out affidavits available at the sites. Miami-Dade elections officials did not know how many such affidavits had been completed at the North Miami Public Library.

Justice Department officials did not explain their decision, but said “personnel will monitor polling place activities during early voting in this county. Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.”

More from Charles Rabin here.

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