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Feds To Monitor Springfield, Lowell Elections

The Justice Department says it will be monitoring municipal elections in Lowell and Springfield to help ensure that the rights of minority voters are protected.

The department said Monday that officials will be in both cities for Tuesday's elections.

The announcement comes as activists in both cities have complained about a lack of minority representation in their city councils.

Springfield is holding its first municipal election under a new "ward" system that's expected to benefit minority candidates following a lawsuit. Springfield is under a federal court order to provide Spanish-language assistance to voters.

Lowell voters will decide on a referendum that would scrap Lowell's all-at-large system and replace it with proportional voting. Supporters say the proposed new system would help elect minorities to the currently all-white city council.

This program aired on November 2, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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