On May 19, 2009, the Justice Department will monitor the election in the city of Philadelphia to ensure compliance with federal voting rights laws.
Justice Department staff members will monitor polling place activities in Philadelphia. A Civil Rights Division attorney will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials. In April 2007, the Justice Department reached a settlement agreement with Philadelphia related to allegations that the city had violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Help America Vote Act and the National Voter Registration Act. Philadelphia has an obligation to provide all election information, ballots and voting assistance information in Spanish according to Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act. The monitors will gather information concerning compliance with this requirement and other federal voting rights statutes.
Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of federal observers from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and departmental staff to monitor elections across the country. In 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 Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.
More information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws is available on the Civil Rights Division Web site at www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm.