Justice Dept. to dispatch staffers to polls in Pennsylvania

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The Justice Department says it will send more than 500 staffers to 28 states on Election Day to monitor the polls, including in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny, Lehigh and Philadelphia counties.

Department officials say personnel will be sent to 67 jurisdictions to watch for potential civil rights violations. Monday’s announcement comes amid rising concerns about voter intimidation, particularly aimed at minorities.

The number of personnel is less than the roughly 780 monitors and observers who were dispatched in 2012.

The Justice Department has said its poll-watching presence has been curtailed by a 2013 Supreme Court opinion that gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

In a statement, Attorney General Loretta Lynch says the department is committed to ensuring that every eligible voter can participate in the election.

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