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Justice Department sends poll watchers to 5 Florida counties

via @VeraMBergen

The U.S. Justice Department is dispatching more than 500 monitors and observers to watch polling sites in 28 states on Election Day, it announced on Monday.

“We will work tirelessly to ensure that every eligible person that wants to do so is able to cast a ballot,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

The number is a reduction of about a third from the more than 780 monitors who were deployed during the 2012 election. On Tuesday they will be stationed in 67 jurisdictions across the country to keep track of any voting irregularities. They will be watching for voting rights violations, such as whether voters are discriminated against because of their race or language.

“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 on Monday.

Of the 500 people who will be deployed, those sent to Alaska, California, Louisiana, New York and Alabama will be election “observers” will full access to the polls. Those dispatched to the other 24 states will be “monitors,” meaning they don’t have the statutory authority to access polling sites, which will have to be granted by state and local authorities.

Among the monitored counties will be five in Florida: Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Orange, Hillsborough and Lee.

--with Patricia Mazzei