U.S. Attorney Designates Election Officers to Receive Complaints of Fraud or Other Voting Rights Abuses
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 26, 2012|
ALEXANDRIA, VA—U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride announced today that he has designated Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Gillis to lead the efforts of his office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day program for the upcoming November 6, 2012, elections.
Gillis has been appointed to serve as the district election officer (DEO) for the Eastern District of Virginia and 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 and in coordination with DEOs in Richmond and Norfolk.
In consultation with the Criminal Division and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the DEOs will handle complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses on Election Day.
The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and combating these violations whenever and wherever they occur. The department’s long-standing Election Day program furthers these goals, and also seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the department for the public to report any possible election fraud and voting rights violations while the polls are open on Election Day.
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 that intimidate or harass them. For example, actions of persons designed to interrupt or intimidate voters at polling places by questioning or challenging them, or by photographing or videotaping them, under the pretext that these are actions to uncover illegal voting may violate federal voting rights law. Further, federal law protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice.
In order to respond to any complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on November 6, 2012, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, DEOs will be on duty in the Eastern District of Virginia while the polls are open and can be reached by the public at (703) 299-3700.
The FBI will also have special agents available in each field office and resident agency in this district to receive any allegations of election fraud and other election abuses. The FBI can be reached by the public regarding Election Day complaints at (202) 278-2000.
Any 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.