Feds coming to observe county voting

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 30, 1999

A group of U.S. Justice Department officials will be coming to observe election proceedings in Adams County Tuesday, said election commission chairman Bob Barrett.

Barrett said he has a meeting Monday with justice officials, but he does not know how many observers will be sent to the area Tuesday.

&uot;There have been justice department observers in past elections,&uot; Barrett said.

Email newsletter signup

Christine DeBartolo, spokeswoman for the voting rights section at the justice department, could not confirm whether any observers would be sent to Adams County. She said the department would release that information Monday.

For the Aug. 3 primary, 158 observers were sent to various counties in Mississippi, but Adams County was not one of them.

Problems in that election included no Democratic poll workers at several precincts in Madison County; reports of Republican precincts being closed in Holmes County; and reports of ballot problems in Harrison County.

Barrett said Mississippi elections officials must comply with the federal Voting Rights Act, which means there can be no changes in precincts without preclearance from the justice department.

Justice department officials decide whether to send observers to a state or county based on research in the area, DeBartolo said.

They aren’t necessarily called in if the department is tipped off to a potential problem, she said.

&uot;(Observers) watch to see if there are any violations of the voting rights process,&uot; DeBartolo said. &uot;They work with election officials to try to correct any problems.&uot;