WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that the Civil Rights Division will monitor elections on Nov. 8, 2011, in Alameda County, Calif.; Springfield, Mass.; Humphreys, Leflore, Panola and Wilkinson Counties, Miss.; Lorain County, Ohio; and Jasper, Texas. The monitoring will ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group.
Under the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department is authorized to ask the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to send federal observers to jurisdictions that are certified by the attorney general or by a federal court order. Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities in Humphreys, Leflore, Panola and Wilkinson Counties based on the attorney general’s certification and in Alameda and Lorain Counties based on court orders. The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations, and Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.
In addition, Justice Department personnel will monitor polling place activities in the cities of Springfield and Jasper. A Civil Rights Division attorney will coordinate federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials in each city.
Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of federal observers from OPM, as well as departmental staff, to monitor elections across the country. 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.