(STL.News) – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia and the Department of Justice (”DOJ”) announced plans for voting rights monitoring in Fulton and Gwinnett Counties for the Nov. 3, 2020 general election. The DOJ historically has monitored in jurisdictions in the field on election day, and is again doing so this year. The department will also take complaints from the public nationwide regarding possible violations of the federal voting rights laws through its call center.
“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “On Election Day, Civil Division staff from my office will be monitoring voting procedures at polling places throughout Fulton and Gwinnett Counties. Free and fair elections are critical to our democracy, and my office will continue to devote resources to protect this fundamental right.”
“Federal law entrusts the Civil Rights Division with protecting the right to vote for all Americans,” said Eric S. Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Our federal laws protect the right of all American citizens to vote without suffering discrimination, intimidation, and harassment. The work of the Civil Rights Division around each federal general election is a continuation of its historical mission to ensure that all of our citizens can freely exercise this most fundamental American right.”
The Civil Rights Division enforces the federal voting rights laws that protect the rights of all citizens to access the ballot. Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the division has regularly monitored in a variety of elections around the country throughout every year to protect the rights of all voters, and not just in federal general elections.
On Nov. 3, the United States Attorney’s Office and the Civil Rights Division plan to send personnel to two jurisdictions in the Northern District of Georgia to monitor for compliance with the federal voting rights laws.
As in past years, monitors will focus on compliance with the Voting Rights Act, and the other federal voting rights laws enforced by the division. Monitors will include civil rights personnel from the Civil Rights Division and civil personnel from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Civil Rights Division personnel and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will maintain contact with state and local election officials.
The Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section enforces the civil provisions of federal statutes that protect the right to vote, including the Voting Rights Act, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the National Voter Registration Act, the Help America Vote Act, and the Civil Rights Acts. The division’s Disability Rights Section enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure that persons with disabilities have a full and equal opportunity to vote. The division’s Criminal Section enforces federal criminal statutes that prohibit voter intimidation and voter suppression based on race, color, national origin or religion.
On Election Day, Civil Rights Division personnel will be available all day to receive complaints from the public related to possible violations of the federal voting rights laws by a complaint form on the department’s website https://civilrights.justice.gov/ or by telephone toll-free at 800-253-3931.
Individuals with questions or complaints related to the ADA may call the department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or submit a complaint through a link on the department’s ADA website, at https://www.ada.gov/.
Complaints related to disruption at a polling place should always be reported immediately to local election officials (including officials in the polling place). Complaints related to violence, threats of violence or intimidation at a polling place should be reported immediately to local police authorities by calling 911. These complaints should also be reported to the department after local authorities have been contacted.
Last week, the Justice Department announced its overall plans for the general election to protect the right to vote and secure the integrity of the voting process through the work of the Civil Rights Division, Criminal Division, National Security Division, and U.S. Attorney’s Offices.