WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced that it will monitor the Jan. 23, 2010, special municipal election in the city of Hondo, Texas, to ensure compliance with the anti-discrimination and minority language requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Act prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group. It also requires certain covered jurisdictions, such as Hondo, to provide language assistance in Spanish.
Under the Act, the Justice Department is authorized to ask the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to send federal observers to areas that are certified by the Attorney General or by a federal court order. Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities in Hondo based on the Attorney General’s certification of Medina County, Texas. The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at the polling location in Hondo and a Civil Rights Division attorney will coordinate the 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 http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm for more information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws.