Several GOP-Led States Ban DOJ Election Monitors From Polling Sites in 2024 Presidential Election

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft
by Natalia Mittelstadt


Several Republican-led states said that they are banning U.S. Department of Justice election monitors from entering polling sites in the November general election after the agency sent observers to various states in the 2022 midterms.

When the DOJ announced that it was sending election monitors to polling sites in multiple states for the 2022 midterm elections, Florida and Missouri said that the department employees would not be permitted to observe the polls. Now, eight other states have said that they will also not allow DOJ election monitors to enter polling sites during the election this November, with some saying that banning them prevents federal interference in elections.

The day before Election Day in November 2022, the DOJ announced that it was sending election monitors to 64 jurisdictions in 24 states.

The DOJ increased the number of jurisdictions it was monitoring from 44 jurisdictions in 18 states during the 2020 election, Politico reported.

In the 2022 announcement, the DOJ explained, “Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Division has regularly monitored elections in the field in jurisdictions around the country to protect the rights of voters.”

When the election monitors were announced, three of the jurisdictions the DOJ said it would visit were counties in Florida.

Florida Department of State General Counsel Brad McVay wrote a letter to the DOJ, saying that the federal agency had sent letters to the three counties which seemed “to indicate that the Department of Justice will send monitors inside polling places in these counties [emphasis original].”

McVay explained that Florida state law doesn’t allow DOJ personnel into polling places. McVay also wrote that the DOJ “letters do not detail the need for federal monitors in these counties. None of the counties are currently subject to any election-related federal consent decrees. None of the counties have been accused of violating the rights of language or racial minorities or of the elderly or disabled.”

He added that Florida would “send its own monitors to the three targeted jurisdictions. These monitors will ensure that there is no interference with the voting process.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office told The Federalist last week that Florida’s statutes remain the same, “and DOJ personnel are not included on the list of who may enter any polling room or polling place.”

A Missouri county was also contacted by the DOJ the week before the 2022 election about sending election monitors to polling sites.

On the Missouri secretary of state’s X (formerly Twitter) account, Jay Ashcroft responded to the DOJ email, writing, “While the U.S. DOJ could clearly learn a lot from Missouri about non-partisanship and how to administer accessible, secure and credible elections, it would be highly inappropriate for federal agents to violate the law by intimidating Missouri voters at the polls on Election Day.”

For the 2024 presidential election, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota, Texas, and West Virginia all said that the DOJ election monitors will not be allowed to enter polling sites in their states on Election Day.

Louisiana Secretary of State Nancy Landry (R) told Just the News in a statement on Monday:

“Pursuant to the Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder, Louisiana is no longer under Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. As such, and pursuant to La. R.S. 18:1462(A)(2), DOJ’s election observers must abide by the same rules as all other individuals–they must remain at least 600 feet from any polling place. As I oppose federal interference in elections, I will not be inviting the DOJ to send election monitors to Louisiana.”

The Nebraska secretary of state’s office declined to comment since the DOJ hasn’t announced election monitors for this year’s general election.

According to the DOJ’s 2022 election monitor announcement, South Carolina’s Horry County was one of the jurisdictions where election monitors were being sent. The South Carolina State Election Commission told Just the News on Monday that they were “not aware of this occurring in 2022.”

The commission added, “That said, elections in South Carolina are transparent and we welcome any election observer to come witness why our elections are so successful. Anyone is allowed to observe the elections process in South Carolina as long as they follow the rules of the polling place (rules specific to observers can be found on pages 6-9 of our poll manager handbook).”

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders’ (R) office told The Federalist that she “will not permit the Biden DOJ to improperly intimidate or unduly influence Arkansans inside our state’s polling locations.”

Idaho government officials told The Federalist that there are state law “requirements and limitations for poll watchers” but the state is “not aware of any request made to any county clerk or similar involvement by the DOJ here in Idaho.”

The North Dakota secretary of state’s office told the publication that they “believe ‘DOJ Monitors” would be considered observers as are all individuals who wish to observe election day practices.”

Ohio’s secretary of state’s office told the media outlet that the state would “review any request on a case-by-case basis.”

The Vermont secretary of state’s office said that there are “no special provisions, restrictions, or allowances that apply to the Department of Justice differentiating them from any other observer.”

New Hampshire’s secretary of state’s office provided a similar response to The Federalist: “The area outside of the guard rail in a polling place is open to the public, which includes election monitors. We do not have any laws or policies that exclude the public from observing our elections from public areas in the polling place.”

Secretaries of State from Alaska, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming didn’t provide comment by publishing time.

The DOJ didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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Natalia Mittelstadt graduated from Regent University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication Studies and Government.
Photo “Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft” by Missouri Secretary of State. Background Photo “Voting Booths” by Corey Seeman. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.



Reprinted with permission from Just the News.

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