Justice Department monitors Georgia runoff election

Justice Department monitors Georgia runoff election

Dec. 6 (UPI) — The Justice Department announced plans to monitor the Georgia Senate runoff election between Sen. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker in four counties to ensure federal voting rights are protected on Tuesday.

Monitors from the department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office will be dispatched on Tuesday to Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County and Macon-Bibb County.

Election day monitors were a point of contention in some states during last month’s midterm election. State officials from Florida and Missouri rejected the Justice Department’s plan to send monitors to counties in their states, arguing the department did not clearly state a reason to do so.

The department announced it would send personnel to select counties in 24 states to curb any attempts to limit the rights of voters. This came after allegations of voter suppression targeted specifically at minorities.

Georgia was one of the states where allegations of voter suppression were most prevalent. One of Georgia’s newest election laws sought to restrict the use of voting drop boxes, which the Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law said are used “extensively by voters of color.”

Georgia’s State Elections Board was also put under question as the body in charge of administering elections. The board is made up of four Republicans and one Democrat, leading to concern that it could not operate in a nonpartisan way.

Members of the public may contact the Civil Rights Division with complaints about potential violations of federal voting rights laws through the department’s website or by telephone toll-free at 800-253-3931.

Incumbent Sen. Warnock held a narrow edge over his Republican opponent Walker during the midterm election, finishing ahead by less than 40,000 votes. About 3.9 million people voted.

The runoff election, which began early voting more than a week ago, opened at a feverish pace. On Nov. 8, the state set a single-day record of more than 300,000 votes cast. The previous record in Georgia was 233,252 cast in the 2018 midterm. On Friday, the record book was rewritten again with 350,000 votes cast.

In all, more than 1.8 million Georgians voted early in the runoff election.

The result of this election will determine whether the Senate stays locked at 50-50 between the Democratic and Republican parties, or if the Democrats will have a 51-seat majority. If Warnock wins, the Democratic Party will not need to rely as heavily on Vice President Kamala Harris to cast tie-breaking votes.

Over the last two years, the 50-50 split has created a hurdle for President Joe Biden as he attempts to push his agenda forward, despite a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.


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