A national Hispanic civil rights group is asking the Department of Justice to investigate alleged voter suppression in the Democratic primary in the 13th congressional district. The group, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, has sent a letter to the DOJ voicing concern that Spanish-speaking voters found it difficult to cast ballots because they were unable to receive Spanish-language assistance and were turned away, or were told to vote by affidavit ballots, according to a statement by the organization. The appeal to the DOJ by LatinoJustice, which recently was among several voter advocacy groups that sued Florida over its decision to target more than 2,600 registered voters whose citizenship was questionable, comes as veteran U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel has seen his lead over the runner-up dwindle to slightly more than 800 votes. Some 2,000 absentee and affidavit ballots remain to be counted; the result is expected to be announced Thursday.
New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who came in second, is questioning Rangel’s claim of victory. The veteran congressman is seeking the nomination for his 22nd term in Congress. On Monday, a New York state Supreme Court judge heard claims made by the Espaillat campaign that votes were tallied improperly by the New York City Board of Elections. But then Espaillat’s lawyers were given permission from the court to withdraw their petition in their fight to unseat Rangel, so they can refile using broader legal arguments.