Staff from the federal Department of Justice have been sent to polling places in two parts of New Jersey and 17 other states Tuesday to observe that voting there.

Middlesex and Bergen Counties were among 44 jurisdictions in 18 states being monitored by the Civil Rights Division of the Department.

The Division determines whether federal observers are needed in an eligible area, according to its website. Middlesex County also was monitored for the 2016 presidential election, when federal teams were sent to 67 jurisdictions in 28 states.

They're tasked with looking for any signs of voter intimidation or voter suppression based on race, color, national origin or religion, or other violations of federal election law.

On Election Day, Civil Rights Division personnel also are available to receive complaints from the public related to possible violations of the federal voting rights laws by a complaint form on the department’s website or by phone at 800-253-3931.

Complaints related to disruptions at a polling place should be reported immediately to local election officials including those at the polling place, according to the Justice Department.

Complaints related to violence, threats of violence or intimidation at a polling place should be reported immediately to local police authorities by calling 911, before also being reported to the federal officials.

“Our federal laws protect the right of all American citizens to vote without suffering discrimination, intimidation, and harassment,” Civil Rights Division Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband said in a written statement.

Other areas being monitored include three counties in Pennsylvania, five counties in Massachusetts, six counties in Florida, seven counties in Michigan, plus parts of Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Individuals with questions or complaints related to the ADA can call the department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or submit a complaint through a link on the department’s ADA website.

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