Justice Department to Monitor Election in Walnut, California

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced that it will monitor the municipal election on April 13, 2010, in the city of Walnut, Calif., to ensure compliance with the minority language requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Voting Rights Act requires certain jurisdictions with substantial language minority citizen populations to provide all voting materials and assistance in certain minority languages, as well as in English. In April 2007, the Justice Department brought a lawsuit against the city of Walnut alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act involving Korean-speaking and Chinese-speaking voters. The parties subsequently settled the lawsuit, and a federal court entered an order in the case in November 2007.

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 itself or by a federal court order. Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities for the election in Walnut according to the 2007 federal court order. The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in this jurisdiction, 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. 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.