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Oversight Activities Voting Rights

Federal Voting Rights Observer Program

The Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended, gives the U.S. Attorney General the responsibility for enforcing the rights guaranteed to citizens under the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. This includes ensuring that states and political subdivisions are prevented from employing any voting qualifications, prerequisites, standards, practices, and procedures that deny or abridge a U.S. citizen's right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group. The Act defines language minorities as persons who are American Indian, Asian American, Alaskan Natives, or of Spanish heritage.

The Act also authorizes the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to provide observers to certain political subdivisions (counties) and other political units as determined by the Attorney General. In such subdivisions, observers may enter any place where an election is being held to monitor (1) whether persons who are entitled to vote are being permitted to vote, and (2) whether votes cast are being properly tabulated.  The observers then prepare reports that are submitted to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which enforces the Voting Rights Act. Voting Rights observations are held for elections throughout the year. More information about federal observers and how to request monitoring of an election by DOJ can be found on the website of DOJ's Civil Rights Division.

OPM continuously accepts applications from individuals with skills in these languages:  Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean, and several Native American and Alaskan languages.  If you would like to apply, call the toll-free number below or send an email to votingrights@opm.gov.

Mail inquiries to:

Voting Rights Program Manager
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
1900 E Street, Room 6484,
Washington, DC 20415
Call 202-606-1400 or (toll free) 1-866-885-4122.

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