Justice Department to Monitor Elections in Texas

On May 9, 2009, the Department of Justice will monitor municipal elections in the cities of Farmers Branch and Hondo, Texas, to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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 areas that are specially covered in the Act or by a federal court order. Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities for the elections in Farmers Branch and Hondo based on the special coverage provisions. The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in these jurisdictions, and 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 OPM, as well as departmental staff, to monitor elections across the country. In calendar year 2008, for example, 1,060 federal observers and 344 Department personnel were sent to monitor 114 elections in 76 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 Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.