WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced that on November 15, it will monitor the municipal election in the City of Miami, Florida, to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act. Miamiís election was originally scheduled for November 1st, but due to hurricane damage, Governor Bush of Florida rescheduled the election from November 1 to November 15.
Pursuant to a court order, Justice Department personnel will monitor polling place activities during the municipal election. This monitoring will assess compliance with the consent decree entered on June 17, 2002, in a lawsuit brought by the Civil Rights Division against Miami-Dade County, which alleged that during the November 2000 presidential election, the county prevented Creole-speaking Haitian-American voters with limited ability to understand English from securing assistance from persons of their choice in violation of Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act. The City of Miami contracts with the County to administer the Cityís municipal elections.
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.