Federal Election Officials Monitor Columbus
Federal civil rights officials are monitoring elections in Columbus County today.
The Department of Justice said in a news release that Columbus is one of 64 jurisdictions in 24 states that will be watched closely for reports of civil rights violations such as voter suppression and intimidation.
Personnel will only be deployed directly to the county under a court order, the DOJ said.
The news release did not mention a specific threat in Columbus. Supporters of both sheriff candidates have complained of scare tactics being used on both sides.
The DOJ Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section enforces the civil provisions of federal statutes that protect the right to vote for minorities and people with disabilities. The division’s Criminal Section enforces federal criminal statutes that prohibit voter intimidation and voter suppression based on race, color, national origin or religion. Other counties in North Carolina that are being mo0nitored include Alamance, Harnett, Wayne,
and Mecklenburg. State officials have indicated the possibility of unrest in Alamance and Mecklenburg counties in the wake of the election. The state has opened an emergency operations Center in Raleigh to deal with the threat of election related unrest and possible rioting.
All complaints should be first reported to the Columbus County Board of Elections, the DOJ release said. Complaints over civil rights violations can be made by calling 1.800.253.3931 or logging onto https://civilrights.justice.gov/ . Concerns of Americans With Disability Act violations can be made by calling 1.800.514.0301.