WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced that it will send federal observers and Civil Rights Division personnel to monitor the September 27 municipal preliminary election in Boston, Massachusetts, to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act.
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 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 Boston pursuant to a federal court order entered on September 22, 2005.
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.
Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of observers and attorneys to monitor elections across the country. In 2004, the Department coordinated and sent 1,463 federal observers and 533 Department personnel to monitor 163 elections in 105 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.
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.