Consistent with longstanding Justice Department practices and procedures, the Civil Rights Division is providing information about its efforts to ensure that all qualified voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots and have their votes counted free of discrimination, intimidation and suppression in the upcoming Nov. 8, 2022, general election.
The Civil Rights Division is responsible for ensuring compliance with the civil provisions of federal statutes that protect the right to vote, and with the criminal provisions of federal statutes prohibiting discriminatory interference with that right. The Civil Rights Division undertakes its important work to protect the right to vote all throughout each year, and this year’s work continues longstanding department tradition.
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 National Voter Registration Act; the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act; the Help America Vote Act; and the Civil Rights Acts. Collectively, these laws:
- Prohibit election practices that have either a discriminatory purpose or a discriminatory result on account of race, color or language minority status;
- Prohibit intimidation of voters;
- Allow voters who need assistance in voting because of disability or inability to read or write to receive assistance from a person of their choice (other than agents of their employer or union);
- Require minority language election materials and assistance in certain jurisdictions;
- Require accessible voting systems for voters with disabilities;
- Require that provisional ballots be offered to voters who assert they are registered and eligible to vote in the jurisdiction, but whose names do not appear on poll books;
- Require states to provide for absentee voting for uniformed service members serving away from home, their family members also away from home due to that service, and U.S. citizens living abroad; and
- Require covered states to offer the opportunity to register to vote through offices that provide driver licenses, public assistance and disability services, as well as through the mail; and to take steps regarding maintaining voter registration lists.
The Civil Rights Division’s Disability Rights Section enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination in voting based on disability. The ADA applies to all aspects of voting, including voter registration, selection and accessibility of voting facilities, and the casting of ballots on Election Day or during early voting, whether in-person or absentee.
The Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section enforces federal criminal statutes that prohibit voter intimidation and voter suppression based on race, color, national origin or religion.
Leading up to Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022, the Civil Rights Division will implement a comprehensive program to help ensure the right to vote, including the following:
- The Civil Rights Division will lead monitoring in the field on Election Day to observe compliance with federal voting rights laws.
- Division attorneys in Washington, D.C., will be ready to receive complaints of potential violations of any of the statutes the Civil Rights Division enforces. Attorneys in the division will coordinate within the Department of Justice and will take appropriate action concerning these complaints before, during, and after Election Day.
- Individuals with complaints related to possible violations of federal voting rights laws can call the department’s toll-free telephone line at 800-253-3931, and also can submit complaints through a link on the department’s website, at https://civilrights.justice.gov/.
- Individuals with questions or complaints related to the ADA may call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or submit a complaint through a link on the department’s ADA website, at gov.
All complaints related to violence, threats of violence or intimidation at a polling place should be reported first to local police authorities by calling 911; after alerting local law enforcement to such emergencies by calling 911, the public should contact the department.
Closer to election day, the department expects to provide additional information regarding its efforts to protect the right of vote and the election process, including where the Civil Rights Division will monitor elections in the field on Election Day.
For more information about the department’s work to ensure compliance with federal civil and criminal laws related to voting, please visit Voting | Department of Justice.