Feds to Monitor Compliance With Federal Voting Rights Laws in NJ

New JerseyBy: Jeff Sommes

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey and the U.S. Justice Department announced today that they will monitor compliance with federal voting rights laws in Union County, New Jersey, for the June 4 primary election. The Justice Department will assign federal observers to monitor the election in Union County to observe the county’s compliance with the Voting Rights Act.

In 2023, a federal court approved a consent decree to resolve the department’s claims under Sections 203 and 208 of the Voting Rights Act regarding the availability of election assistance and materials in Spanish for Spanish-speaking voters with limited English proficiency in Union County. **Section 203** requires that certain jurisdictions, including Union County, provide election materials and assistance in other languages in addition to English. **Section 208** provides a right for voters who need assistance with voting – due to inability to read or write, blindness, or disability – to receive that assistance from the person of their choice, with certain limited exceptions.

The consent decree authorizes federal observers to monitor election day activities in the county’s polling places. The department regularly deploys its staff to monitor for compliance with federal civil rights laws in elections in communities across the country. In addition, the department also deploys federal observers from the Office of Personnel Management when authorized by federal court order.

The Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section, working with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, enforces the civil provisions of federal statutes that protect the right to vote, including the Voting Rights Act, National Voter Registration Act, Help America Vote Act, Civil Rights Acts, and the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.