Feds report no irregularities

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 3, 1999

Ten U.S. Department of Justice workers visiting Adams County polling places Tuesday reported no irregularities to the Adams County Circuit Clerk’s Office, said Larry Gardner, deputy circuit clerk.

At the Adams County Courthouse polling place, three well-dressed federal observers armed with clipboards and cell phones watched election workers closely and answered no questions from bystanders or the press.

&uot;It makes me uncomfortable, let’s just say that,&uot;&160;said Kaye Waycaster, that precinct’s receiving and returning clerk, cutting her eyes toward the observers. &uot;But we’re just doing the best we can do.&uot;

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Federal workers also observed precincts at the Adams County Airport, Northside Primary School and Oakland. In all, 116 Department of Justice workers were dispatched to three states – including 71 workers in Mississippi – to observe whether minorities are being turned away from or harassed at polling places.

There are two reasons the federal workers visit a county at election time: as part of a routine check or in response to citizen complaints, Gardner said.

&uot;Because they have fewer people here than in the past and because they’re only at four precincts out of 20, I’d assume it was just a routine check,&uot;&160;he said.

During the 1996 elections, about 25 federal observers came to Adams County to make sure those who registered to vote under the motor voter program were only voting in federal elections, he said. Observers also visited during the 1992 elections.

&uot;It’s made no difference to us – we’re going on with business as usual,&uot;&160;said Jackie McNeely, clerk at Northside’s precinct. &uot;Besides, we’ve gotten used to them by now.&uot;