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Election Response Task Force Monitors Miami-Dade Voting

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Dozens of investigators fanned out Tuesday across precincts throughout Miami-Dade to monitor voting and to look for irregularities and make sure everyone who was entitled to vote was allowed to do so.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told CBS4's Peter D'Oench that her office's Election Response Task Force was comprised of at least 40 people with law enforcement experience or who were volunteers. She said their role was to be observers at precincts throughout the county.

"No matter how people are going to vote, voting this time is one of the most important duties and privileges we have as citizens of the United States. The most important thing is for people to have confidence in our voting system and know that our election process is very secure.

"There are people who would like to say that it is not and who would like to manipulate the fear of people. That tends to keep them at home and that is part of voter suppression as a result and an outcome we don't want.

"We are looking for any irregularity, which may be people being too aggressive at a precinct and maybe something that is happening inappropriately with a supervisor or helping someone else out. We are there to assist the Miami-Dade Elections Department which has a secure team in place. We are adding a layer to that assistance," said Fernandez Rundle.

The county's top prosecutor showed D'Oench a map of the voting districts and where team members go to.

"So we have teams going by quadrants and we make sure they are responsive," she said. "Once these teams go to the community they respond quickly and ascertain whether there is anything suspicious or inappropriate going on."

One task force member is former Miami police homicide Det. Emiliano Tamayo.

He said, "We are looking for everything and anything that keeps people from exercising their constitutional rights. We are looking for any intimidation and or any problems with voters. Our job is to be observers."

The state attorney set up at Voter Complaint Hotline, which can be reached at (305) 547-3300.

Fernandez Rundle said the hotline had been receiving a lot of informational questions.

"They have questions about their precincts or absentee ballots," she said.

The Voter Complaint Hotline card urges people to call if they are unable to vote or have experienced difficulties in voting or have seen suspicious conduct.

The card says the Voter's Bill of Rights tells people they have the right to cast a vote if he or she is in line at the official closing of the polls, to ask for an receive assistance in voting and to receive up to two replacement ballots if he or she makes a mistake prior to the ballot being cast.

Every voter has the right to "vote and have his or her vote accurately counted," according to the card.

Voters must also receive an explanation if their registration or identity is in question and if it is in question, they have the right to cast a provisional ballot.

Voters said the task force was a good idea.

"It's definitely good to give people an outlet and a way to express issues if there are issues," said Michelle Backus, before she voted at a fire station in Coconut Grove. "If it is going to make people who think voting is rigged be quieter then I think this is an OK thing."

"I think this is a good idea," said Carise Naylor of Miami. "I don't think it could hurt. I think since Florida had such a good vote and early turnout, I am not sure we are going to have as many problems as other states or as many problems as some may have anticipated."

For more on Campaign 2016, click here.

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