WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that it filed a lawsuit against Bolivar County, Miss., alleging violations of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, in Oxford. The Department simultaneously filed a consent decree resolving the lawsuit against the county.
The government’s complaint contends that Bolivar County has failed to comply with an important HAVA requirement governing federal elections: that jurisdictions establish a free access system that allows an individual voter who casts a provisional ballot to discover whether his or her ballot was counted, and, if the ballot was not counted, the reason the ballot was rejected. The requirement regarding provisional ballots went into effect on Jan. 1, 2004.
“By quickly agreeing to implement an effective remedial plan, Bolivar County officials have demonstrated a genuine commitment to addressing past problems with their compliance with this important requirement of the Help America Vote Act,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
This suit continues an extensive effort by the Civil Rights Division to ensure full implementation of HAVA. This is the eleventh claim brought by the Civil Rights Division under HAVA since HAVA’s requirements went into effect four years ago. More information about the federal voting laws enforced by the Department is available on the Justice Department website at www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm.