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Number of civil rights voting complaints 'low'

From Terry Frieden
CNN Washington Bureau
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As polls began to close in the East, Justice Department officials said voter complaints to federal officials had been "low" on Tuesday.

Fewer than 200 calls were received by the Civil Rights Division hotline in Washington, down from about 1,200 complaints received during the 2004 elections.

"Nearly all of the civil rights and access problems dealt with minority language voting issues," said one Justice Department official familiar with federal election monitoring. The official was unaware of any cases in which voters were denied the right to vote based on race or ethnicity.

A second Justice Department official described the number of voting access issues as "low to normal."

"Every election there are always going to be problems, and there were some this time, but there was nothing really out of the ordinary," the official said.

The officials asked not to be identified because the Justice Department does not comment officially on election-related issues.

Justice officials also described criminal fraud issues as relatively low. The officials confirmed there had been scattered complaints relating to alleged intentional acts directed at voters. Although they provided no specific numbers, they said the scope of such allegations were not out of the ordinary for recent election cycles.

"It will take a day to sort out exactly what complaints were received," one of the officials said. Justice Department officials would not comment on any specific problems that arose Tuesday.

The FBI confirmed agents had conducted a preliminary inquiry into allegations of possibly fraudulent telephone calls to several dozen voters allegedly aimed voter suppression. (Full story)



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