Springfield Community Leaders Ask for Election Investigation Results

A self-described “coalition” of community leaders in Springfield is asking the US Department of Justice for the results of an investigation into alleged violations of voting rights that the department conducted during last November’s mayoral election.

The group of leaders, which includes Ward 1 City Councilor Zaida Luna and President of the Springfield Branch of the NAACP Talbert Swan, says it has observed violations of the Voting Rights Act in the city. Luna says those violations include a lack of bilingual poll workers at polling places, and requiring Identification for some voters.

“There were other [people] who were asked for an ID, even though they have voted for years. They didn’t have the ID with them, so they couldn’t vote. I mean, it’s little things like that that are unnecessary.”

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the results of last year’s investigation. Luna says she wants to see the results because of consistently low voter turnout in her ward, which she says could be due, in part, to voting rights violations.

“I mean, there’s only 10% of people registered in… my ward that are casting their vote, and that’s why I’m so concerned.”

Luna says she’d like to see federal oversight of November’s general election in Springfield. Springfield Election Commissioner Gladys Oyola says Department of Justice officials did not monitor the primary election. She says the city is notified at least a week in advance if the Justice Department intends to send election monitors.