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New Mexico: DOJ and Cibola Co. settle voting-rights suit

AP reports: The U.S. Department of Justice has settled voting rights claims against Cibola County.

The department announced Wednesday it had settled allegations that the county violated the Help America Vote Act and the National Voter Registration Act. Those claims had been added to a lawsuit alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act, which originally was filed in 1995, attorney Joe Diaz of Albuquerque, who represented the county, said Thursday.

Justice Department oversight of elections in the county will be extended through 2008 under a consent decree with the county. ...

Federal law requires counties to hire interpreters and translate ballots and other election material into Indian languages. In the case of Cibola County, officials must provide voter information and assistance in Navajo and Keresan to voters who need it.

The Justice Department alleged the county failed to ensure that valid voter registration applications were processed and added to voter registration lists in a timely manner; that voters' names were not removed from the rolls without cause; and that provisional ballots were offered at elections to voters whose names were not on the voter rolls. Provisional ballots are counted after the election once officials determine the person is a qualified voter. -- 4:44 pm: Justice Department settles Cibola County voting rights claim

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