WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today announced that on Aug. 26, 2008, it will monitor elections in the towns of Bayou La Batre and Marion, Ala., as well as in Seminole County, Fla., to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA).
The VRA authorizes the Justice Department to ask the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to send federal observers to areas that are specially covered in the statute or by a federal court order. Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities in Marion, Ala., based on the special coverage provisions.
In addition, Justice Department personnel will monitor the municipal election in Bayou La Batre, Ala., and the primary election in Seminole County, Fla. In both locations, Department personnel will monitor treatment of voters at the polls. Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.
Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of federal observers from the OPM, 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 Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm.