The New York Times reported that a memo was sent out by the Department of Justice to prosecutors on Wednesday allowing them to send armed guards to ballot counting locations to investigate potential voter fraud.
While federal law prohibits armed troops or law enforcement from stationing at any place an election is held unless force is determined “necessary,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) believes the law allows agents to station at places that are counting votes following the election, three unnamed officials familiar told The New York Times.
“[The statute] does not prevent armed federal law enforcement persons from responding to, investigate, or prevent federal crimes at closed polling places or at other locations where votes are being counted,” senior DOJ official Richard P. Donoghue told prosecutors in an email Wednesday, according to The Times.
A DOJ official said Thursday that the memo was sent in anticipation of “disruption”. DOJ wanted to make sure that it was clear federal law enforcement is available to help state and locals,” the official said. “DOJ was not sending federal law enforcement anywhere, just making sure state and local officials knew federal government was available to help.”
Donoghue’s message to prosecutors comes as the 2020 presidential election remains undecided, according to Decision Desk HQ. Key battleground states Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona have been contested since Tuesday.
President Donald Trump’s campaign has filed lawsuits related to vote tallies in multiple states. Trump has tweeted several allegations of voter fraud in swing states, many of which have been flagged by Twitter.
The American people deserve to have a free and fair election where every legal vote is counted.