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Justice Department to monitor elections in Malden, Lowell

(Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/file)

The US Department of Justice announced Monday that it will monitor Tuesday’s election by deploying staff to 35 jurisdictions across the country, including Malden and Lowell.

“Voting rights are constitutional rights, and they’re part of what it means to be an American,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “This year we are using every lawful tool that we have, both civil and criminal, to protect the rights of millions of Americans to cast their vote unimpeded at one of more than 170,000 precincts across America.”

“Likewise, fraud in the voting process will not be tolerated,” he added. “Fraud also corrupts the integrity of the ballot.”

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Malden and Lowell are among the state’s most racially diverse cities, with non-Hispanic or Latino whites making up nearly half of the population. Under the Voting Rights Act, the two cities are required to provide election materials in other languages — Spanish and Cambodian in Lowell and Chinese, including Taiwanese, in Malden.

Election monitors will collect information from polling stations, including “whether voters are subject to different voting qualifications or procedures on the basis of race, color or membership in a language minority group” and whether they are complying with language and voter registration list requirements.

On Monday, President Trump tweeted that “Law Enforcement has been strongly notified to watch closely for any ILLEGAL VOTING which may take place in Tuesday’s Election (or Early Voting).”

“Anyone caught will be subject to the Maximum Criminal Penalties allowed by law. Thank you!” he posted.

Researchers say voter fraud is extremely rare. In a 2007 report, the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law wrote that “many of the claims of voter fraud amount to a great deal of smoke without much fire.”

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“The allegations simply do not pan out,” the report stated.


Aimee Ortiz can be reached at aimee.ortiz@globe.com. Follow her on twitter @aimee_ortiz.