WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today announced that on June 3, 2008, it will monitor state, local, and federal primary elections in the following counties of five different states to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other federal voting rights statutes: Perry County, Ala.; Alameda and Riverside Counties, Calif.; Salem County, N.J.; Cibola and Sandoval Counties, N.M.; and Bennett, Jackson, Mellette, Shannon and Todd Counties, S.D.
Under the Voting Rights Act, 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 or by a federal court order. Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities in Perry County, Ala., based on the special coverage provisions. In Cibola and Sandoval Counties, N.M., federal observers will monitor elections pursuant to federal court orders entered in 2007. In addition, Justice Department personnel will monitor the primary elections in the California, New Jersey, and South Dakota counties mentioned above. The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in these jurisdictions. 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 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 Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm.