The Department of Justice said federal prosecutors are within their rights to send armed federal agents to monitor ballot-counting locations as votes from the presidential election continue to be tallied nationwide.
According to The New York Times, DOJ official Richard Donoghue told prosecutors that the law preventing federal agents from being posted at polling places is only applicable on Election Day.
The law, Donoghue wrote, “does not prevent armed federal law enforcement persons from responding to, investigate, or prevent federal crimes at closed polling places or at other locations where votes are being counted.”
“Although federal law enforcement officers should act in cooperation with local partners as appropriate,” the law allows federal law enforcement officers to visit locations where ballots are being counted, Donoghue wrote.
The email was sent around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Times.
President Donald Trump and his campaign are pushing for vote-counting in several states to be stopped until ballots can be examined by everyone involved. The election has yet to be decided, but Democrat Joe Biden is nearing a victory, according to most tallies.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey pushed back on the idea that armed agents would be allowed inside locations where ballots are counted.
“Elections are a state matter, and we have authority as state officials over anyone trying to enter locations where ballots are being counted,” she told the Times. “Anything else is a radical reinterpretation of the law. States can handle elections, and we will ensure the people decide the outcome.”