FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO MONITOR ELECTIONS IN NEW YORK, WASHINGTON, AND ALABAMA
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced that it will monitor the September 14 primary election in Nassau, Queens, Richmond, and Suffolk Counties, New York and in Franklin and Yakima Counties, Washington to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act. Monitoring is also planned for the September 14 municipal runoff election in Bayou La Batre, Alabama.
Under the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department 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. Federal observers will monitor polling place activities in Yakima County, Washington pursuant to a federal court order.
In addition, Civil Rights Division personnel will monitor the September 14 primary election in Franklin County, Washington and in Nassau, Queens, Richmond, and Suffolk Counties, New York.
Federal law requires that jurisdictions with a substantial minority-language voter population provide certain voting materials, such as ballots, registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, or other materials in the minority language as well as in English. According to determinations made by the Census Bureau, Franklin, Yakima, Nassau, Queens, and Suffolk Counties have an obligation to provide these materials in Spanish. Queens County must also provide the materials in Chinese and Korean. A federal court order requires that Richmond County provide the materials in Spanish.
In Bayou La Batre, Alabama, the Department will monitor the treatment of Vietnamese-American voters.
Each year, the Department of Justice deploys hundreds of observers and attorneys to monitor elections across the country. In 2002, the Department coordinated and sent 608 federal observers and 221 Department personnel to 40 counties in 17 states to monitor 60 elections and ensure access to the polls. In 2003, the Department coordinated and sent 380 federal observers and 136 Department personnel to monitor 42 elections in 26 political subdivisions in 14 states. So far in 2004, including the September 14 elections, the Department has coordinated and sent 467 federal observers and 259 Department personnel to monitor 72 elections in 66 counties in 20 states.
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.