FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, MARCH 7, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO MONITOR ELECTIONS IN ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA AND WASHINGTON
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced that on March 8, it will monitor a special school district bond election in Yakima County, Washington, and municipal elections in Cochise and Greenlee Counties, Arizona, and in Los Angeles County, California.
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 Yakima County, Washington pursuant to a federal court order entered on July 6, 2004.
The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in the county. A Civil Rights Division attorney will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.
In addition, Civil Rights Division personnel will monitor elections in several municipalities in Cochise and Greenlee Counties, Arizona, and in Los Angeles County, California.
Each of the monitored counties has an obligation to provide voting materials in one or more languages other than English, pursuant to Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act. Jurisdictions covered by the provisions of Section 203 must provide "registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials of information relating to the electoral process, including ballots" in the language of the minority groups for which they are covered. These requirements also apply to any political subdivision of a covered county, such as a city, if the city conducts elections. The observers and monitors will gather information concerning compliance.
Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of observers and attorneys to monitor elections across the country. In 2004, a record of 1,463 federal observers and 533 Department personnel were sent to monitor 163 elections in 105 jurisdictions 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 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 website at www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm.