U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) is calling for federal observers to be placed at polling stations on election day in states that have recently restricted voting rights.
The civil rights icon made the suggestion during a voting rights roundtable on Wednesday.
“In past few months and years I’ve traveled across the country and I know that there is a deliberate persistent systematic effort to make it harder and more difficult for the disabled, student, senior, minority, the poor and rural voters to participate in the Democratic process,” Lewis said.
“That’s not right, not fair, and it’s not just.”
But it won’t be an easy task.
Following a Supreme Court decision in 2013 that struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department lost its ability to select voting areas it deemed at risk of racial discrimination and deploy observers. Federal observers can still be sent to monitor elections but only when authorized by federal court rulings.
The department has not announced how many observers it will dispatch on Election Day.