Feds monitoring elections in local counties

November 1, 2008 4:19:37 PM PDT
On Election Day both Santa Clara and Alameda Counties will be getting a visit from the feds. Justice Department monitors will be watching the two counties closely as they did in 2006.

At the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, federal election monitoring by the Department of Justice sounds like a good idea.

"I think they should. I don't think they'll be any problems. Well because I think people are sensitive to it, keeping an eye on it jurisdiction-to-jurisdiction," said one voter.

"That's good. I hope it's fair, and safe and fair," said another.

The DOJ wants to ensure that minority and disabled voters in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties have equal unimpeded access to the voting process.

Santa Clara County is required to have ballots available in four languages. They've had a problem doing that in the past.

Dave McDonald, the Alameda County Registrar, says the DOJ makes sure there are sufficient ballots for Hispanic and Asian voters.

"They also look at access for disabled. We have to have touch-screen devices at each polling place," said McDonald.

A fair election is what the U.S. Department of Justice says it wants to ensure. The civil rights division of the DOJ is monitoring this presidential election in 23 states.

David Anderson, the Assistant U.S. Attorney for Northern California, says the monitoring happens "So that everyone who is casting a ballot can have confidence that the ballot will count equally for everyone else who is casting a ballot."

Anderson says the U.S. Attorney's Office will also look into criminal activity such as voter intimidation and ballot fraud across the nation. He notes this election is already different because of the sheer number of voters expected.

"Because we approach this as we would any other situation where there is a possibility of wrong-doing, there are other agencies involved in voter observations as well including the FBI."

Anyone who has complaints of voter intimidation or fraud is asked to call the U.S. Attorney's Office or the FBI.


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