Justice Department to Monitor Election in Mississippi

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department today announced that on June 24, 2008, it will monitor the special primary election in Wilkinson County, Miss., to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act. The election will include special primary contests for county offices.

Under the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department is authorized to ask the Office of Personnel Management to send federal observers to areas that are specially covered by the Act or by a federal court order. Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities in Wilkinson County, Miss., based on the special coverage provisions. The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in this jurisdiction. Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate the 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.