Justice Department to Monitor Compliance with Federal Voting Rights Laws on Election Day
The Justice Department today announced its Election Day plans for the Nov. 6, 2018 general election. The Civil Rights Division will monitor compliance with the federal voting rights laws by deploying personnel to 35 jurisdictions in 19 states.
“Voting rights are constitutional rights, and they’re part of what it means to be an American,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “The Department of Justice has been entrusted with an indispensable role in securing these rights for the people of this nation. This year we are using every lawful tool that we have, both civil and criminal, to protect the rights of millions of Americans to cast their vote unimpeded at one of more than 170,000 precincts across America. Citizens of America control this country through their selection of their governmental officials at the ballot box. Likewise, fraud in the voting process will not be tolerated. Fraud also corrupts the integrity of the ballot.”
State and local governments have primary responsibility for administering elections in the United States. The Civil Rights Division is charged with enforcing the federal voting rights laws that protect the rights of all citizens to access the ballot on Election Day. Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the Division has regularly monitored all kinds of elections in the field around the country throughout every year to protect the rights of all voters, and not just in federal general elections. On Nov. 6, the Division again will be monitoring in the field around the country.
On Election Day, the Division staff members will be available all day by telephone to receive complaints from the public related to possible violations of the federal voting rights laws (1-800-253-3931 toll free or 202-307-2767 or TTY 202-305-0082). In addition, individuals may also report complaints by fax to 202-307-3961, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and by a complaint form on the Department’s website: www.justice.gov/crt/votercomplaint.
Allegations of election fraud are handled by the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country and the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. Complaints may be directed to the local U.S. Attorneys’ Office or local FBI office. A list of U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and their telephone numbers can be found at www.justice.gov/usao/find-your-united-states-attorney. A list of FBI offices and their telephone numbers can be found at www.fbi.gov/contact-us.
Complaints related to disruption at a polling place should always be reported immediately to local election officials (including officials in the polling place). Complaints related to violence, threats of violence or intimidation at a polling place should be reported immediately to local police authorities by calling 911. These complaints should also be reported to the Department after local authorities have been contacted.
On Election Day, the Civil Rights Division plans to deploy personnel to 35 jurisdictions in 19 states to monitor for compliance with the federal voting rights laws:
- Bethel Census Area, Alaska;
- Dillingham Census Area, Alaska;
- Kusilvak Census Area, Alaska;
- Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska;
- Apache County, Arizona;
- Cochise County, Arizona;
- Maricopa County, Arizona;
- Navajo County, Arizona;
- Sacramento County, California;
- San Mateo County, California;
- DeSoto County, Florida;
- Palm Beach County, Florida;
- Pinellas County, Florida;
- Fulton County, Georgia;
- Gwinnett County, Georgia;
- Buena Vista County, Iowa;
- Ford County, Kansas;
- Lowell, Massachusetts;
- Malden, Massachusetts;
- Clark County, Nevada;
- Washoe County, Nevada;
- Middlesex County, New Jersey;
- Union County, New Jersey;
- Erie County, New York;
- Benson County, North Dakota;
- Rolette County, North Dakota;
- Texas County, Oklahoma;
- Lehigh County, Pennsylvania;
- Pawtucket, Rhode Island;
- Buffalo County, South Dakota;
- Harris County, Texas;
- Tarrant County, Texas;
- Waller County, Texas;
- San Juan County, Utah; and
- Fairfax County, Virginia.
The Civil Rights Division will gather information on, among other things, whether voters are subject to different voting qualifications or procedures on the basis of race, color or membership in a language minority group; whether jurisdictions are complying with the language minority provisions of the Voting Rights Act; whether jurisdictions permit a voter to receive assistance by a person of his or her choice if the voter has a disability or is unable to read or write; whether jurisdictions provide polling locations and voting systems allowing voters with disabilities to cast a private and independent ballot; whether jurisdictions comply with the voter registration list requirements of the National Voter Registration Act; and whether jurisdictions comply with the provisional ballot requirements of the Help America Vote Act. Division personnel will also maintain contact with local election officials.
The Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section enforces the civil provisions of a wide range of federal statutes that protect the right to vote including the Voting Rights Act, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the National Voter Registration Act, the Help America Vote Act, and the Civil Rights Acts. The Division’s Disability Rights Section enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure that persons with disabilities have a full and equal opportunity to vote. Information about the Americans with Disabilities Act and about how to file a disability related complaint can be found at www.ada.gov. The Division’s Criminal Section enforces federal criminal statutes that prohibit voter intimidation and voter suppression based on race, color, national origin or religion.
Last week, the Justice Department announced efforts to ensure that all qualified voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots and have their votes counted free of discrimination, intimidation or fraud in the election process. More information about the federal voting rights laws is available on the Civil Rights Division’s website at www.justice.gov/crt/voting-section.