WASHINGTON — The Justice Department announced today that on April 22, 2008, it will monitor the presidential primary election in the Philadelphia, Pa., to ensure compliance with federal voting rights laws. In April 2007, the Justice Department reached a settlement agreement with Philadelphia related to allegations that the city had violated the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), and the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).
Justice Department staff members will monitor polling place activities in Philadelphia. A Civil Rights Division attorney will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials. Philadelphia has an obligation to provide all election information, ballots and voting assistance information in Spanish pursuant to Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act. The monitors will gather information concerning compliance with this requirement and other federal voting rights statutes.
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. In calendar year 2006, for example, 966 federal observers and 575 Department personnel were sent to monitor 119 elections in 81 jurisdictions in 24 states. 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 http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm.