U.S. Attorney Announces Efforts to Protect Voters and Prevent Fraud in November 2012 Elections
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 17, 2012|
PHOENIX—United States Attorney John S. Leonardo announced today that Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Dominic Lanza will lead the efforts of his office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 6, 2012 general elections. AUSA Lanza has been appointed to serve as the district election officer (DEO) for the District of Arizona. In that capacity, he is responsible for overseeing the district’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses, in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.
“The right of every citizen to vote without interference or discrimination must be carefully protected,” said United States Attorney Leonardo. “Likewise, the vote of every citizen should be counted, not stolen through fraud. The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process.”
The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring and combating election fraud and discrimination at the polls, whenever and wherever they occur. The department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers these goals. It also seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the department, while the polls are open on election day, for the public to report possible election fraud and voting rights violations.
Federal law protects against such crimes as intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input. It also contains special protections for the rights of voters and provides that they can vote free from acts of intimidation or harassment. For example, federal voting rights laws may be violated where persons act to interrupt or intimidate voters at polling places by questioning or challenging them, or by photographing or videotaping them, under the pretext that these actions will uncover illegal voting. Further, federal law protects the right of voters to mark their own ballots or to be assisted at the polls by a person of their choice.
The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the franchise may freely exercise it if they so choose. We must also ensure that those who seek to corrupt the franchise are brought to justice. In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on November 6, 2012, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, United States Attorney Leonardo stated that AUSA/DEO Lanza will be on duty in this district while the polls are open. He can be reached by the public at (602) 908-8534.
In addition, the FBI will have special agents available in each field office and resident agency throughout the country to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on election day. The local FBI field office can be reached by the public at (623) 466-1999.
Complaints about ballot access problems or discrimination can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington at 1-800-253-3931 or (202) 307-2767.
“Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the cooperation of the American electorate,” said United States Attorney Leonardo. “It is imperative that those who have specific information about discrimination or election fraud make that information available immediately to my Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”