FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
FRIDAY, MAY 28, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO MONITOR ELECTIONS
IN NEW MEXICO AND SOUTH DAKOTA
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced that it will monitor the June 1 primary election in six counties in New Mexico and the June 1 primary and special elections in nine counties in South Dakota to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act.
Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities in Bernalillo, Cibola, Sandoval and Socorro Counties, New Mexico, and in Buffalo County, South Dakota, pursuant to federal court orders authorizing their assignment. In addition, Civil Rights Division personnel will monitor the June 1 primary election in Rio Arriba and Santa Fe Counties, New Mexico and in Bennett, Dewey, Jackson, Mellette, Shannon, Todd, Tripp and Ziebach Counties, South Dakota.
In New Mexico, the Voting Rights Act requires each of the monitored counties to provide voting materials, such as ballots and other information, in one or more American Indian languages. Bernalillo, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Socorro Counties also are required to provide such information in Spanish. In South Dakota, the Act likewise requires that eight of the monitored counties provide voting information in the Lakota language.
In Buffalo County, South Dakota, federal observers will monitor polling place procedures and implementation of a new county commission redistricting plan. The new plan was adopted in a consent decree to resolve a lawsuit that challenged the prior configuration of the districts under the14th and 15th Amendments.
Each year, the Department of Justice deploys hundreds of observers and attorneys to monitor elections across the country. In 2002, the Division coordinated and sent 608 federal observers and 221 Justice Department personnel to 40 counties in 17 states to monitor 60 federal, state, and local elections. In 2003, the Division coordinated and sent 380 federal observers and 136 Department personnel to monitor 42 state and local elections in 26 political subdivisions in 14 states.