FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
FEDERAL OBSERVERS AND JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PERSONNEL
TO MONITOR GENERAL ELECTION IN STATES ACROSS THE NATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced it will send 324 federal observers and 108 Justice Department personnel to 26 counties in 14 states to monitor the general election on Tuesday, November 5, 2002.
Under the Voting Rights Act, which protects the rights of Americans to participate in the electoral process without discrimination, the Department of Justice is authorized to ask the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to send federal observers to areas that are specially covered in the Act itself or by a federal court order under the Act.
For seven counties, federal observer authority comes from court orders, and observers were assigned to another eight counties based on the special coverage provisions.
Federal observers will monitor polling place activities in:
§Apache and Navajo Counties, Arizona;
§Randolph County, Georgia;
§Wayne County (Hamtramck), Michigan;
§Adams and Amite Counties, Mississippi;
§Passaic County, New Jersey;
§Bernalillo, Cibola, Sandoval and Socorro Counties, New Mexico;
§Kings County (Brooklyn) and New York County (Manhattan), New York;
§Titus County, Texas; and,
§San Juan County, Utah.
The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at select polling locations in the counties. Thirty-eight Department of Justice personnel will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.
To file complaints about discriminatory voting practices in this election, voters in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Utah counties may call the federal examiner at 866-885-4122. Voters in Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey and New York may call the federal examiner at 888-496-9455.
In addition, 70 Justice Department personnel, most of whom are Civil Rights Division attorneys, will monitor the election in:
§San Francisco, California;
§Broward, Duval, Miami-Dade, Orange and Osceola Counties, Florida;
§St. Louis, Missouri;
§San Juan County, New Mexico;
§Queens County, New York; and,
The observers and Department personnel will monitor whether certain counties and localities are complying with federal voting laws, for example: complying with the minority language provisions of the Voting Rights Act; determining whether any voters are challenged improperly on the basis of their race, color, or membership in a language minority group; permitting voters who are blind, disabled or unable to read or write assistance by a person of their choice; and permitting all eligible voters to cast a ballot.
At all times, complaints about discriminatory voting practices may be called in to the Voting Section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division at 800-253-3931.
More information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice's website site at www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting.