WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today announced that on Sept. 9, 2008, it will monitor the primary elections in New York (Manhattan), Kings (Brooklyn), and Queens Counties, N.Y., to ensure compliance with federal voting rights statutes, and specifically the minority language provisions of 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 by the law or by a federal court order. Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities in New York and Kings Counties, based on the special coverage provisions. 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 Queens County.
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. Thus far, during calendar year 2008 (not including today’s monitoring efforts), 364 federal observers and 148 Department personnel have been sent to monitor 47 elections in 43 jurisdictions in 17 states. For the 2008 elections, the Civil Rights Division will implement a comprehensive Election Day program to help ensure ballot access. As in previous years, the Civil Rights Division will coordinate the deployment of hundreds of federal government employees in counties, cities, and towns across the country to ensure access to the polls as required by our nation’s civil rights laws.
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.