WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced that on Tuesday, March 4, 2008, it will monitor elections in Brazos, Fort Bend, Galveston and Waller Counties, Texas, to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting rights statutes.
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 for the elections in Fort Bend and Galveston Counties, based on the special coverage provisions, and they will be assigned to monitor the election in Brazos County, pursuant to a federal court order entered in 2006.
Brazos, Fort Bend and Galveston Counties are obligated to provide all election information, ballots and voting assistance information in Spanish as well as in English according to the Voting Rights Act. 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.
In addition, Justice Department personnel will monitor polling place activities in Waller County, Texas. A Civil Rights Division attorney will coordinate 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.