Justice Department to monitor polls, on watch for fraud
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says he's sending out more than 50 state prosecutors and criminal investigators on Election Day. He says their assignment is to watch the polls across several regions of the state, to address voter fraud issues as they arise.
"There are opportunities where questions come up as to the legality of a certain vote or voter," says Van Hollen. "It's very difficult to address those after the fact, so to the best of our ability we want to send our attorneys and our agent out into the field to try to address those issues no matter who raises them."
But Democratic Sen. Mark Miller, Monona, criticizes the plan. He says even the U.S. Department of Justice decided this year not to send criminal investigators to the polls because it might result in discouraging legitimate voters. Miller adds the legislature made it clear that its Government Accountability Board is solely responsible for policing the polls.
"If we had wanted the Attorney General to be invested in it we would have given him that authority," says Miller. He says Republicans shared similar criticisms when Peg Lautenschlager was the state's ranking law enforcement officer.
But the AG's agents won't be the only people watching voters. Partisan and non-partisan groups plan to monitor state polling places, to look out for voter fraud or attempts at voter suppression.