(Photo courtesy of Maya Sugarman/KPCC)

San Mateo County was among 35 jurisdictions in 19 states that had personnel from the U.S. Department of Justice monitoring the polls on Election Day.

The other county in California that was monitored Nov. 6 was Sacramento County.

Then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement saying, “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 the more than 170,000 precincts across America.”

At the polling stations that were monitored, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division gathered information on, among other things, whether voters are subject to different voting qualifications based on race, color or membership in a language minority group.

Jim Irizarry, San Mateo County’s assistant chief elections officer and assessor-county clerk-recorder, said that based on the interaction elections officials had with Justice officials, the monitoring is a “normal routine function,” though he noted that the county operated under a new election model this election.

The county is one of five in California that is conducting elections under the California Voter’s Choice Act in which ballots are all mailed out to voters and people can mail them back or drop them off at locations around the county.

The other participating counties were Sacramento, Napa, Madera and Nevada.

Irizarry said in this election the county reached a historic milestone. For the first time, more than 400,000 eligible voters registered.

The county currently has about 503,000 eligible voters and about 401,000 registered, Irizarry said.

Story originally published by Bay City News.

Keith Burbank, Bay City News

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.