FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, JANUARY 3, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO MONITOR ELECTION IN SAN DIEGO
WASHINGTON, DC - The Justice Department today announced that it will monitor the January 4th special city council vacancy runoff election in San Diego, California to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act.
Under the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department is authorized to ask the Office of Personnel Management to send federal observers to areas that are specially covered in the Act itself or by a federal court order. Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities in San Diego pursuant to a federal court order entered on July 7, 2004.
The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in the city. Civil Rights Division personnel will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.
On June 23, 2004, San Diego County entered into a settlement agreement with the Justice Department designed to protect the voting rights of minority language citizens. Under the agreement, the county must provide ballots and voting materials, such as notices, forms, instructions, and assistance in Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. The observers will gather information concerning compliance with the agreement and other issues affecting minority language voters.
Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of observers and attorneys to monitor elections across the country. In 2004, the Department coordinated and sent a record 1,463 federal observers and 533 Department personnel to monitor 163 elections in 67 counties in 29 states. This compares to 640 federal observers and 103 Department personnel deployed in 2000.
To file complaints about discriminatory voting practices, including acts of harassment or intimidation, voters may call the Voting Section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.