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Vote Monitors to Head to 14 States

November 4, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Justice Department is dispatching more than 400 people to monitor polling places in 14 states on Election Day to ensure compliance with federal voting laws.

The observers will be watching for any signs of discrimination based on race or problems encountered by the disabled, as well as whether all eligible voters are able to cast a ballot. Widespread voting problems were reported in 2000, particularly in Florida where the results delayed by a month the declaration of a presidential winner.

In all, 432 observers, including 108 Justice Department lawyers and other personnel, will monitor elections in 26 counties.

Courts have ordered federal observers in seven counties, with another eight assigned observers because they are in areas covered specifically by the Voting Rights Act. These counties are: Apache and Navajo in Arizona; Randolph, Georgia; Wayne, Michigan; Adams and Amite, Mississippi; Passaic, New Jersey; Bernalillo, Cibola, Sandoval and Socorro, New Mexico; Kings and New York, New York; Titus, Texas; and San Juan, Utah.

These observers, sent by the federal Office of Personnel Management, will be overseen by 38 Justice Department officials who will maintain contacts with local election officials should problems surface.

Seventy other Justice Department officials, most of them civil rights attorneys, will monitor elections in: San Francisco; Waterbury, Conn.; Broward, Duval, Miami-Dade, Orange and Osceola counties, Fla.; St. Louis; San Juan County, N. M.; Queens County, N.Y.; and Reading, Penn.

Complaints about possible discrimination in voting can be made to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.

____

On the Net:

Justice Department: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting

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