The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Monday that it plans to monitor compliance with federal voting rights laws in 64 jurisdictions in 24 states for the November 8 general election. Since the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Division says it has routinely monitored elections nationwide to protect voting rights. Among those jurisdictions that the Civil Rights Division will be monitoring is Cole County in central Missouri.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft shared an email to his social media account that was sent to Cole County Clerk Steve Korsmeyer:

Ashcroft followed that up with comments he made in a Facebook live video Monday night, “The clerk, rightfully under the law, said ‘wait a minute, you don’t have the authority to be in polling places, you need to ask the election authority’, which is the county clerk. When we met this (Monday) morning, the DOJ refused to disclose any complaints they had received. I’m not just saying they wouldn’t give us the complaint…they refused they refused to give us any information about the supposed complaints.”

In citing Missouri state law, Secretary Ashcroft said that the local election authority is empowered to decide who, other than voters and poll workers, may be at polling locations. In addition, County Clerk Korsmeyer ‘rightfully declined to allow this over-reach’, according to Ashcroft in supporting his decision to do so.

Ashcroft added in a statement:

According to the Department of Justice’s website: “The Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section enforces the civil provisions of federal statutes that protect the right to vote, including the Voting Rights Act, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the National Voter Registration Act, the Help America Vote Act and the Civil Rights Acts. The division’s Disability Rights Section enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure that persons with disabilities have a full and equal opportunity to vote. The division’s Criminal Section enforces federal criminal statutes that prohibit voter intimidation and voter suppression based on race, color, national origin or religion.”

Missourinet has requested an interview with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Cole County Clerk.

Click here to watch Ashcroft’s entire Monday night video below: