CA-Election Focus: Justice Department Sent Federal Observers To Walnut, CA For Election Today

This story stuck me this morning as unbelievable for a California jurisdiction to require poll watchers in 2010. On the other hand there will be more if local areas pass city or county laws requiring specific ID in order to vote. Such an effort is currently going on in Nevada County, CA.

WASHINGTON, April 12 CACAMPAIGN2010NEWSWIRE.COM The Justice Department today announced that it will monitor the municipal election on April 13, 2010, in the city of Walnut, CA, 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.