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Justice Department Monitoring Election in Maricopa County to Keep the Racists at Bay

The Justice Department is stopping by Maricopa County during tomorrow's elections just to make sure no one's being racist to an illegal degree.

The agency announced this morning that it's sending federal observers to three cities in Alabama, as well as Maricopa County to make sure everyone's complying with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Justice Department points out, "prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color, or membership in a minority language group."

Of course, the Justice Department is suing the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Joe Arpaio for alleged racial discrimination and its "culture of bias," so the agency's presence here probably doesn't come as a surprise.

The Justice Department just recently set up a "civil rights unit" in Birmingham, Alabama, with a focus on protecting immigrants and other groups.

"Under the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department is authorized to ask the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to send federal observers to jurisdictions that are certified by the attorney general or by a federal court order," the Justice Department's announcement says. "Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities in Lanett, Reform, Phenix City [in Alabama, where the leave out the o], and Maricopa County based on the attorney general's certification. The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in these counties, and Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials."

The Justice Department says it does this all the time, with hundreds of people monitoring elections across the country every year.

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