WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that it will monitor elections on June 8, 2010, in the following jurisdictions to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other federal voting rights statutes: Riverside County, Calif.; Middlesex County, N.J.; and Charles Mix and Shannon Counties, S.D.
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. Riverside and Middlesex Counties are required to provide assistance in Spanish, and Shannon County is required to provide assistance in Lakota.
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 Riverside County and Charles Mix County 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 the election in Middlesex County for compliance with the Voting Rights Act.
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.