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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 4, 2012
Justice Department to Monitor Elections in California, New Mexico, South Dakota and Wisconsin

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that it will monitor elections on June 5, 2012, in the following jurisdictions to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other federal voting rights statutes: Alameda, Fresno and Riverside Counties, Calif.; Cibola and Sandoval Counties, N.M.; Shannon County, S.D.; and the city of Milwaukee.

The Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group.  In addition, the act requires certain covered jurisdictions to provide language assistance during the election process.  Fresno County, Riverside County and the city of Milwaukee are required to provide assistance in Spanish.  Cibola, Sandoval and Shannon Counties are required to provide language assistance to Native American voters.  Alameda County is required to provide language assistance to Hispanic, Chinese, Vietnamese and Filipino voters.

Under the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department is authorized to ask the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to send federal observers to jurisdictions that are certified by the attorney general or by a federal court order.  Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities in Shannon County based on the attorney general’s certification and in Alameda, Riverside and Sandoval Counties based on court orders.  The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in these jurisdictions, and 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 Fresno County, Cibola County and the city of Milwaukee.  Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.

Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of federal observers from OPM, as well as departmental staff, to monitor elections across the country.  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.

Visit www.justice.gov/crt/voting/index.php for more information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws.

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