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    Luzerne County among jurisdictions undergoing U.S. DOJ Election Day monitoring

    By Jennifer Learn-Andes,

    Luzerne County Courthouse File photo

    Luzerne County is among jurisdictions that will undergo primary Election Day monitoring by the U.S. Department of Justice, county Manager Romilda Crocamo said Monday.

    Following past practice in the November 2022 general election, the county will not grant permission for federal monitors to be stationed inside polling places, which means agency assessments will be performed outside polling places, Crocamo said.

    “This is consistent with the county’s position that denial for interior access stemmed from concerns raised by multiple county officials that the presence of monitors inside could be disruptive or create the appearance of intimidation,” Crocamo said in an email to council.

    The monitoring is performed by the department’s Civil Rights Division, which has jurisdiction over federal voting rights statutes that include the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Help America Vote Act.

    “Pursuant to that authority, through election-day monitoring and in-person visits to jurisdictions, the department investigates potential violations of the federal voting rights statutes,” a department communication said, citing the anti-intimidation provisions of the Voting Rights Act as an example.

    Trained Civil Rights Division staff members have been sent to Pennsylvania and other jurisdictions in past elections, including Luzerne County, the department noted.

    For example, Luzerne County was among 64 jurisdictions in 24 states monitored in November 2022. Five Pennsylvania counties were monitored at that time.

    “We have appreciated working cooperatively with elections officials on these monitoring efforts, and we look forward to continuing to do so in the future,” it said.

    If any issues arise on Election Day, the department’s attorney for this jurisdiction would stay in communication with county officials, it said.

    Monitors do not interfere in the voting process or wear anything that indicates they are with the Department of Justice, it said.

    Crocamo said voters should immediately report any polling place disruptions to officials in their polling place and to local election officials.

    Complaints related to violence, threats of violence or intimidation at a polling place should also be reported immediately to local police authorities by calling 911 and then by following up with a report to the Department of Justice after local authorities have been contacted, she said.

    ”Intimidation of or violence toward poll workers or voters will not be tolerated,” Crocamo said.

    Those with questions or complaints related to accessibility for the disabled should contact the department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 833-610-1264 (TTY) or submit a complaint through a link at .

    In 2022, a department spokesperson provided this statement on how it selects counties: “The decision on when to send election monitors is based upon the facts and circumstances on the ground with respect to a particular jurisdiction in a particular election.”

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