Updated with comments from NC Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell on Monday at 4 p.m.
The U.S. Department of Justice will monitor polling places in five North Carolina counties on Election Day for compliance with federal laws.
The DOJ said it will have monitors on the ground in Alamance, Columbus, Harnett, Mecklenburg, and Wayne counties. North Carolina is one of 24 states where the DOJ is deploying monitors this election, according to a press release.
Polling places will be open tomorrow from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm. Any voter in line to vote at 7:30 pm will be able to cast a ballot.
More than 2 million voters cast ballots during the early voting period that ended Saturday.
The DOJ routinely monitors polling sites for compliance with federal laws, including the Voting Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
It’s routine for the DOJ to monitor polling sites, NC Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell told reporters Monday afternoon. She does not know how the five counties were chosen, but at least one, Columbus County, was the site of one of the 15 incidents reported to the Board of Elections investigations unit.
In Columbus, an elections worker was followed from a one-stop voting site to the county board of elections, and then from the local headquarters to their neighborhood, Bell said.
Electioneering outside polling places was the main source of disruption during early voting, she said.
Federal monitors have the same access as any member of the public. They can talk to people outside polling places and go to meetings of local elections boards.
The fifteen incidents are on par with disruptions reported during this year’s primary, Bell said.
Elections workers have been threatened and harassed, she said, and “the temperature is higher” than in years past. But overall, things have gone smoothly so far, Bell said.
“We’re ready to go and we’re optimistic,” she said. “We hope that what we’ll see tomorrow is civility.”
The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division will take complaints from the public regarding possible violations of federal voting rights laws through its website https://civilrights.justice.gov/ or by telephone toll-free at 800-253-3931. Complaints about disruption at polling places should be taken to local elections officials immediately, the DOJ advises.
People with questions or complaints related to the ADA may call the toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 833-610-1264 (TTY). Complaints can be submitted online at https://www.ada.gov.
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