FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
FEDERAL OBSERVERS AND DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE PERSONNEL
TO MONITOR ELECTIONS IN ARIZONA, FLORIDA AND NEW YORK
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department will send 80 federal observers to Apache and Navajo Counties, Arizona; 17 Department personnel to Miami-Dade, Orange and Osceola Counties, Florida; and 12 Department personnel to Queens and Suffolk Counties, New York to monitor the primary elections on Tuesday, September 10, 2002.
Under the Voting Rights Act, which protects the rights of Americans to participate in the electoral process without discrimination, the Justice Department is authorized to ask the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to send federal observers to areas that are specially covered in the Act.
In Arizona, information provided by the federal observers, most of whom are bilingual in English and Navajo, will assist the Justice Department in efforts to ensure that all written election materials are translated orally into the Navajo language for voters who speak it as a primary language. Additionally, observers will monitor the counties to see if trained poll workers assist Navajo speaking voters.
The observers, who are supervised by OPM, will watch and record activities during voting hours at select polling locations in the counties. Ten Justice Department attorneys will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.
In Florida, Justice Department personnel are authorized to be present in the polls by U.S. District Courts under consent decrees with each county entered earlier this year. In Miami-Dade County, personnel will monitor the treatment of Haitian-American voters to ensure they have full and equal access to the voting process. In Orange and Osceola Counties, personnel, some of whom are bilingual in English and Spanish, will monitor the treatment of Hispanic voters and the delivery of Spanish language assistance to Hispanic voters with limited English proficiency. Three Justice Department attorneys will coordinate the monitoring and maintain contact with local election officials.
In New York, Justice Department personnel have obtained permission from local election officials to be present in the polls during voting hours. In Queens County, personnel will monitor whether the county has implemented procedures to comply with the minority language provisions of the Voting Rights Act with respect to Korean-American voters with limited English proficiency, and in Suffolk County, personnel will monitor Spanish language assistance procedures. Two Justice Department attorneys will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.
To file complaints about discriminatory voting practices in this election, voters may call the federal examiner at 1-888-496-9455. At all times, complaints about discriminatory voting practices may be called in to the Voting Section of the Justice Departmentís Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.
More information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice Internet site at <http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting.>