FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CR
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1996                           (202) 616-2777
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In an effort to protect the integrity of
the voting process and to prevent the intimidation of minority
voters across the country, the Justice Department will dispatch
328 federal officials to nine states for tomorrow's general
elections.  The states include Arizona, New Mexico, Utah,
California, New York, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South

     Under the Voting Rights Act, which protects the rights of
Americans to participate in the electoral process, the Justice
Department can send federal observers to areas that are specially
covered in the Act.
     "Our democracy rests on the right to vote," said Attorney
General Janet Reno. "The observers will help ensure that every
American has a fair opportunity to cast their ballot."

Protecting the Rights of Native Americans

     In Arizona, 64 federal observers will obtain information
from polling locations in Apache and Navajo Counties to determine
whether the counties are complying with the language minority
provisions of the Voting Rights Act.  Under the provisions,
certain jurisdictions must provide language interpreters to
Native American voters, where necessary.  Navajo language
interpreters are required in these counties.

     In New Mexico, 46 federal observers will monitor polling
locations in Cibola, Sandoval and Socorro Counties.  Observers
will determine whether the counties are complying with an Indian
language program that was established through previously-entered
consent decrees for persons who speak the Navajo and Pueblo
languages.  The decrees resulted from lawsuits filed by the
Justice Department.

     Another 17 officials will monitor polling locations in San
Juan County, Utah, to ensure that the county is in compliance
with the law's requirement that voting information be provided in
Navajo to Native Americans living there

Protecting the Rights of Chinese-Americans

     The Justice Department will dispatch 20 federal observers to
polling locations in Alameda County, California, to ensure that
Chinese language translators and materials are available to
Chinese-American voters.  Under a consent decree filed earlier
this year, the county agreed to provide translators and offer
sample ballots in Chinese to voters requiring assistance.

     Another 19 federal observers will be in New York City to
obtain information on efforts to provide information and
materials to Chinese language voters as prescribed under the Act.

Protecting the Rights of African American Voters

     In Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina, 50
federal observers will monitor elections in six counties.  They
will ensure that African American voters are not disadvantaged by
the failure of polling officials to provide appropriate
assistance and information to voters.

     Twelve observers will be sent to Dallas County, Alabama.  In
Georgia, the Justice Department is sending ten federal observers
to Johnson County, and 11 to Twiggs County, both of which have
failed to appoint African American poll watchers in the past. 
Another three observers are headed to Jefferson County.  Finally,
in Mississippi, nine observers will be in Noxubee County, and in
South Carolina, five observers will be stationed at polling
locations in Dorchester County to ensure that voters are assisted
by persons of their choice.

Enforcing the National Voter Registration Act

     In Mississippi, another 112 federal observers will monitor
elections in ten counties, including Bolivar, Coahoma, Holmes,
Leflore, Lowndes, Madison, Oktibbeha, Rankin, Sunflower and
Warren.  There, they will obtain information on the state's dual
voter registration system.  

     Under the system, residents who registered under the
National Voter Registration Act are only eligible to vote for
federal offices, while those who registered using previously-
administered state voter registration forms can vote for all
offices.  Federal observers will document whether the system
resulted in more African American voters than white voters being
precluded from voting in state and local elections.  All other
states register individuals for both state and federal elections
to avoid any confusion.
     The 328 observers, who are federal employees chosen and
supervised by the Office of Personnel Management, will watch and
record activities during voting hours at the polling locations
and in some cases, during the counting of votes.  Twenty three
Justice Department attorneys will coordinate federal activities
in the various counties.

     In 1994, the Justice Department dispatched more than 200
federal officials to 11 states to monitor the mid-term elections.

     The Justice Department also takes steps to protect against
possible voting irregularities at the polls.  In a statement
issued last week, Reno said that every U.S. Attorney's Office
throughout the nation, working with the FBI, has established
special units to receive reports of corrupt voting practices and
investigate any voting rights complaints.

     To lodge complaints about discriminatory voting practices,
voters can call federal examiners situated in the following


ALAMEDA COUNTY      (510) 637-3784


CIBOLA COUNTY       (505) 876-5624

SANDOVAL COUNTY     (505) 892-0997

SOCORRO COUNTY      (505) 854-2974
APACHE COUNTY       (520) 674-8203

NAVAJO COUNTY       (520) 524-3551


SAN JUAN COUNTY     (801) 672-2498


DALLAS COUNTY       (334) 874-4914


JOHNSON COUNTY      (912) 864-1766

JEFFERSON COUNTY    (912) 864-1766

TWIGGS COUNTY       (912) 945-6147


NOXUBEE COUNTY      (601) 726-9303

LOWNDES COUNTY      (601) 726-9303

OKTIBBEHA COUNTY    (601) 726-9303

MADISON COUNTY      (601) 353-4959

RANKIN COUNTY       (601) 353-4959

WARREN COUNTIES     (601) 353-4959

BOLIVAR COUNTY      (601) 451-1995

COAHOMA COUNTY      (601) 451-1995

HOLMES COUNTY       (601) 451-1995

LEFLORE COUNTY      (601) 451-1995

SUNFLOWER COUNTY    (601) 451-1995


DORCHESTER COUNTY   (803) 563-9701


MANHATTAN           (212) 941-4195
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