Phoenix – The Department of Justice says it will monitor primary elections in Arizona's Maricopa County -- home to controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a lightning rod for the country's contentious immigration debate.
The department said Monday that federal observers will be dispatched Tuesday to make sure that Maricopa County follows the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. That law prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group.
Observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations.
Maricopa County officials, especially Sheriff Joe Arpaio, have come under fire for the treatment of Latino residents.
Arpaio is accused in federal court of ordering some patrols not based on reports of crime but rather on letters from people who complained about people with dark skin congregating in an area or speaking Spanish.
A civil lawsuit also alleges that his office racially profiled Latinos.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.