WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced that on Tuesday, March 11, 2008, it will monitor elections in Bolivar, Jefferson Davis, and Madison Counties, Miss., to ensure compliance with federal voting rights statutes.
The Justice Department and Bolivar County recently settled a lawsuit regarding violations of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). On Feb. 27, 2008, U.S. District Court Judge Neal Biggers of the Northern District of Mississippi, in Oxford, signed a consent decree resolving the case United States v. Bolivar County. The consent decree establishes procedures for Bolivar County officials to follow during federal elections regarding provisional ballots, which are called affidavit ballots in Mississippi. Justice Department personnel will monitor polling place activities in Bolivar County on March 11 for compliance with HAVA and the court order.
In addition, Justice Department personnel will monitor polling place activities in Jefferson Davis and Madison Counties, Miss. Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.
Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of federal observers from the Office of Personnel Management, as well as departmental staff, to monitor elections across the country. In calendar year 2006, for example, 966 federal observers and 575 Department personnel were sent to monitor 119 elections in 81 jurisdictions in 24 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.
More information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm.