WASHINGTON—The Justice Department today announced that from April 10 through 13, 2006, and on April 15, 2006, federal observers will monitor polling place activities at the Registrar of Voters offices in Shreveport and Monroe, La, two satellite early voting locations for the April 22, 2006, municipal and parochial primary elections for New Orleans.
Under the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department is authorized to ask the Office of Personnel Management to send federal observers to areas specially covered by the Act or by a federal court order. Caddo Parish, where Shreveport is located, and Ouachita Parish, where Monroe is located, are specially covered by the Voting Rights Act.
The observers will watch and record activities during early voting for the April 22 New Orleans elections at both polling locations. 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 observers and attorneys to monitor elections across the country. In 2004, a record of 1,463 federal observers and 533 Department personnel were sent to monitor 163 elections in 105 jurisdictions in 29 states. This compares to 640 federal observers and 103 Department personnel deployed in 2000.
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.
More information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws is available on the Justice Department’s Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm.