Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Calls for the Department of Justice to Investigate Incidents of Voter Intimidation and Send Poll Monitors to Ensure Safeguarding Americans
Constitutional Right to Vote
Today, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee reached out again to Attorney General Eric Holder informing him of the recent reports of voter intimidation across the city of Houston and requested that the Department of Justice investigate these incidents. She also urged Attorney General Holder to immediately send DOJ poll monitors to Harris County to ensure a safe and neutral voting environment during the November 2 election.
“I was very concerned when I was informed of multiple incidents in which voters in predominately minority neighborhoods of my congressional district were intimidated and harassed. These incidents were documented by both the electronic and print media. Accordingly, I shared my concerns with the Department of Justice and the Harris County Attorney’s office, who are investigating these incidents. I even visited with some of these voters who experienced intimidation and went to polling locations to view firsthand the way voters were being treated. The right to vote is a fundamental right enshrined by our Constitution, and my interest is to ensure that every person’s right to vote is protected.”
“This week alone, there have been at least fifteen reports of abuse of voter rights throughout the city of Houston, including the 18th Congressional district. Although there are usually a few isolated occurrences of voter intimidation during the election season, the incidents that took place at polling stations earlier this week appeared to be both organized and systematic,” added Congresswoman Jackson Lee. Poll watchers have been reportedly over-stepping the boundaries between observing and interacting in the democratic process by hovering directly behind voters as they entered their votes. The group thought to be behind these acts is known as the King Street Patriots, reportedly tied to some Tea Party activists. The King Street Patriots have deployed poll watchers around the city as they implement their “True the Vote” campaign.
Congresswoman Jackson Lee stated, “Many of these incidents of voter intimidation have been occurring in predominately minority neighborhoods and have been directed at African-Americans and Latinos. It is unconscionable to think that anyone would deliberately employ the use of such forceful and intimidating tactics in 2010 to undermine the fundamental, Constitutional right to vote.”
However, such conduct has regrettably occurred in Houston, and Rep. Jackson Lee wants action taken to ensure that it does not recur. Accordingly, enclosed below is the letter Congresswoman Jackson Lee sent to Attorney General Holder today.
To report complaints and incidents of voter intimidation, please call the DOJ Civil Rights Division with complaints. Civil Rights Division staff will be available at the following special toll-free numbers to receive complaints related to ballot access (1-800-253-3931) (TTY line 1-877-267-8971).