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Justice Department to monitor primary election in Queens, N.Y.

By Allen Cone

June 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department on Monday announced it will monitor compliance with federal voting rights laws in Queens, N.Y., for Tuesday's primary, including a race for a congressional seat held by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The agency deploys its staff to monitor for compliance in communities throughout the country.

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The primary in New York is for federal, state and local offices. Early voting was from June 15 to Sunday.

This primary is not for U.S. president. That was conducted in April.

In the 14th Congressional District, Ocasio-Cortez is being challenged by a relatively unknown Wall Street investor, Marty Dolan, 66. It will be the first primary opposition since 2020 for Ocasio-Cortez. She was elected in 2018.

"We are all for the 'progress' implied by the word Progressive," Dolan said in his campaign launch announcement. "However, within the progressive movement, there are radicals whose influence on the Democratic Party is overweight."

In Queens, there are competitive races for the state Assembly, too.

In District 37, incumbent Juan Ardila, who was elected in 2022, has been facing resignation calls in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal.

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Claire Valdez is a tenant and union organizer backed by groups representing the left wing of the party, including the Democratic Socialists of America. Also running is Johanna Carmona, a lawyer who has worked for former longtime Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan.

In District 35, incumbent Jeffrion Aubry is retiring. The candidates are Hiram Monserrate, who was removed from the state Senate in 2010 after an assault conviction, and Larina Hooks, a lifelong community organizer and civic rights advocate.

The Justice Department also deploys federal observers from the Office of Personnel Management as authorized by federal court order.

The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division's Voting Section works with the U.S. Attorneys' Offices, to enforce Voting Rights Act, National Voter Registration Act, Help America Vote Act, Civil Rights Act, and Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

Complaints about possible violations of federal voting rights laws can be submitted through the Civil Rights Division's website at civilrights.justice.gov or by telephone at 1-800-253-3931.

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