Department of Justice to oversee Shelby County election

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — The Department of Justice announced Tuesday afternoon it will oversee the August 7 election in Shelby County.

Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Robert Meyers requested federal oversight during a phone call to the Office of the Attorney General Tuesday morning.

Federal monitors will be sent to observe the Shelby County general election, as well as the federal and state primary.

Polling places will be monitored, and a Civil Rights Division attorney will be in contact with local election officials.

Meyers told WREG while he’s sure things will go smoothly Thursday, adding federal monitors should avoid any claims of shady business going on after the results are in.

Both Shelby County Democrats and Republicans requested the feds to step in this week.

“I think all of the commissioners know it’s a problem, but they don’t want to say anything because of the election season,” said Republican Shelby County Commissioner Mike Ritz.

Ritz requested federal monitors at Monday’s meeting.

“About a year ago, we passed a resolution with almost every commissioner voting with no confidence for the executive director of the election commission,” he said.

Meyers admits it will repair the commission’s reputation after problems during past elections, but said federal monitors during elections are normal to insure a transparent process.

Tuesday night, the Shelby County Democratic Party was celebrating after asking the feds step in.

While they provided no proof, they claim there was voter fraud and intimidation during early voting.

Republicans WREG spoke with said they have not heard of those claims, but that federal monitors can’t hurt.

To file a complaint about discriminatory voting practices, call 1-800-253-3931.

The Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or language.

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