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Justice Department Agreement will Help Protect Voting Rights
of New Jersey Citizens in 2006 Federal Election

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today announced that it has reached an agreement with the state of New Jersey that will help to ensure an orderly process for the implementation of New Jersey’s statewide computer voter database, in accordance with federal law. This agreement, which was filed contemporaneously with a lawsuit filed by the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, sets a schedule for the state’s completion and implementation of a statewide computer voter database that includes all eligible voters and for the identification and removal of ineligible voters from the voter rolls, in a manner that brings the state into full compliance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).

“We commend New Jersey Attorney General Stuart Rabner and the Elections Division for their constructive approach to addressing the problems with the state’s voter database and voter registration list,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The state’s prompt cooperation in this matter will help ensure that every eligible voter in New Jersey will be able to cast his or her ballot in November consistent with federal law.”

“We were very concerned that four years had passed without compliance with federal voting laws by the state Attorney General’s Office,” said U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie. “We are very pleased that Attorney General Rabner has taken this issue so seriously and has put the resources of his department behind fixing it as soon as possible.”

“We are fully committed to protecting the rights of New Jersey voters and the integrity of the election on November 7,” said Attorney General Rabner, who is the state’s chief election official. “Free and fair elections are fundamental to the democratic process and full participation is key. This agreement furthers both goals. As always, we will be vigilant in guarding against the potential for fraud.”

The agreement, which must be approved by the federal district court, sets an effective schedule for the state to comply with HAVA and the NVRA by implementing a statewide computer database that includes all registered voters and removes ineligible voters. The agreement also requires the state to maintain and continually update the database to avoid similar problems in future federal elections. The agreement also provides that voters whose names do not appear in the registration list be given an opportunity to vote by provisional ballot.

The Justice Department has brought a number of suits under the HAVA and the NVRA to ensure the proper implementation of the computer voter database and the accuracy and integrity of state voter registration lists. More information about the HAVA, the NVRA and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice Web site at Complaints about discriminatory voting practices may be called in to the Voting Section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.