Federal civil rights officials announced…they have sent election observers to locations in five states to keep an eye out for potential trouble at the polls Tuesday.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division dispatched 11 staff attorneys along with 85 trained election observers from the Office of Personnel Management to watch activities at the polls and report any irregularities…
In Mississippi, monitors are being dispatched to four counties, as voters go to the polls in a gubernatorial election to replace Haley Barbour, who is term-limited from running again. The campaign features the white Republican Lieutenant Gov. Phil Bryant and African-American Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, a Democrat. Mississippi political observers say Bryant is a strong favorite to win the election…
The Justice Department has also assigned monitors to Lorain County, Ohio, to protect the rights of Spanish-speaking voters. Last month, the federal government signed an agreement with Lorain County to resolve concerns that limited-English Hispanic voters were being denied their full voting rights because the county failed to provide language assistance as required by law.
In Alameda County, California, the U.S. will monitor voting following an agreement between federal officials and the county in July. The agreement requires Alameda County to provide election materials and information in Spanish and Chinese. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said the agreement “ensures that Alameda County’s Spanish- and Chinese-speaking citizens will be able to cast an effective ballot and successfully participate in the electoral process.”
In Jasper, Texas, racial tensions have run high over the recall election for three African-American city council members responsible for the hiring of the city’s first black police chief.
In Springfield, Massachusetts, activists claim minorities were turned away at the polls in the September primary, and said there was no Spanish-language assistance for voters. Hispanic leaders, the NAACP and ACLU had all urged the Justice Department to travel to Springfield to protect voting rights of all minorities.
Republicans around the country continue to mobilize to deny the franchise to citizens on the basis of ethnicity and language. Nothing new about the practice. Nothing less than bigotry is expected – after all – since the so-called Southern Strategy has never been limited to the South. Or to Black folks alone.