Holder Reminds Poll Workers: Bilingual Election Materials Must Be Provided, Sends Federal Monitors to States

Posted: Nov 04, 2014 10:30 AM

Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder has sent poll watchers from the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division to monitor elections in 18 states today for voter intimidation and ballot fraud. He's also reminding poll workers that by law, bilingual materials and proper assistance must be provided to people casting ballots. 

"Just as they do during every election, these officials will gather information on numerous aspects of local election procedures, including whether voters are treated differently depending on their race or color; whether jurisdictions are adequately serving individuals with disabilities; whether jurisdictions are complying with the provisional ballot requirements of the Help America Vote Act; and whether jurisdictions are complying with the Voting Rights Act's requirement to provide bilingual election materials and assistance in areas of need," a statement released on Justice.gov states. "Attorney General Holder also called on jurisdictions to implement the recommendations of President Obama's bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration, which outlined a series of steps to make it simpler to cast a ballot. He further advised election officials and poll workers to carry out their duties responsibly, and urged all eligible Americans—regardless of party affiliation or political views—to exercise their right to vote."

DOJ officials are warning that voter intimidation and fraud will be vigorously prosecuted.

In anticipation of tomorrow’s general election, the Justice Department today provided information about its efforts, through the Civil Rights Division and Criminal Division, to ensure that all qualified voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots and have their votes counted free of discrimination, intimidation or fraud in the election process.

The Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section enforces federal criminal statutes that prohibit voter intimidation and vote suppression based on race, color, national origin or religion. 

Both protecting the right to vote and combating election fraud are essential to maintaining the confidence of all Americans in our democratic system of government. The department encourages anyone who has information suggesting voting discrimination or ballot fraud to contact the appropriate authorities.

Election-crime complaints should be directed to the local U.S. Attorney’s Office or the local FBI office. A list of U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and their telephone numbers can be found at http://www.justice.gov/usao/districts/. A list of FBI offices and accompanying telephone numbers can be found at www.fbi.gov/contact-us.

Public Integrity Section prosecutors are available to consult and coordinate with the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the FBI regarding the handling of election-crime allegations.

Again, complaints related to violence, threats of violence, or intimidation at a polling place should be reported first to local police authorities by calling 911.

Do DOJ poll monitors plan to stop voter intimidation if members of the New Black Panther Party show up with nightsticks? We'll find out.