WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced that on March 7, it will monitor primary elections in Brazos, Ector, Hale and Travis Counties, Texas, to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act.
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 itself or by a federal court order. Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities in Ector County pursuant to a federal court order entered on August 26, 2005.
The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in the county. A Civil Rights Division attorney will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.
In addition, Justice Department personnel will monitor elections in Brazos, Hale and Travis Counties.
Each of the monitored counties has an obligation to provide voting information in Spanish pursuant to Section 203 or Section 4(f)(4) of the Voting Rights Act. Jurisdictions covered by these provisions must provide all election information, ballots and assistance in the language of each minority group for which they are covered. The observers and monitors will gather information concerning compliance.
Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of observers and attorneys to monitor elections across the country. In 2004, a record 1,463 federal observers and 533 Department personnel were sent to monitor 163 elections in 105 jurisdictions in 29 states. This compares to the 640 federal observers and 103 Department personnel deployed in 2000.
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 website at www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm.