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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 4, 2009
Justice Department to Monitor Elections in Mississippi

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today announced that on May 5, 2009, it will monitor municipal elections in the towns of Cleveland, Como, Meridian and Sardis, Miss., to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Under the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department is authorized to ask the U.S. 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 for the election in the town of Cleveland based on the special coverage provisions. The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in this jurisdiction, and Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials. In addition, Justice Department personnel will monitor the municipal elections in the towns of Como, Meridian and Sardis for compliance with the Voting Rights Act.

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 2008, for example, 1,060 federal observers and 344 Department personnel were sent to monitor 114 elections in 76 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 www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/ .

09-428
Civil Rights Division
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