WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today announced that on June 5, 2007, it will monitor local elections in Bergen County, Edison, and Penns Grove, N.J., and in Hollywood, S.C., to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act.
Justice Department personnel will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling places in these locations, and Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.
Bergen County and Edison, N.J., are obligated to provide all election information, ballots, and voting assistance information in Spanish as well as in English pursuant to Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act. The monitors will gather information concerning compliance.
In addition, Department personnel will monitor in all these locations to ensure that the right of voters to participate in the election is not infringed on account of their race or their inability to understand English well enough to participate effectively in the electoral process.
Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of federal observers from the Office of Personnel Management, as well as departmental staff, to monitor elections across the country. During calendar year 2004, a record 1,463 federal observers and 533 Department personnel were sent to monitor 163 elections in 106 jurisdictions in 29 states. This compares to the 640 federal observers and 110 Department personnel deployed during the entire 2000 presidential calendar year. In 2006, another record was set for the mid-term elections with more than 800 federal observers and Department personnel sent to monitor polling places in 69 jurisdictions in 22 states on Election Day. The Departmentís election monitoring program also has been very active in non-federal election years. In calendar year 2005, for example, 640 federal observers and 191 Department personnel were sent to monitor 47 elections in 36 jurisdictions in 14 states.
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 Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm.