|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 05, 2012|
ALBANY, NY—United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian has designated Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Michael Olmsted to 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 Olmsted has been appointed to serve as the district election officer (DEO) for the Northern District of New York and in that capacity 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 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 Election Day Program advances these goals and 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 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 ballots or to be assisted by a person of their choice.
U.S. Attorney Hartunian stated, “Voting is the cornerstone of American democracy. The Declaration of Independence observes that government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed, and election day is the day that citizens exercise their inherent power to select their government. That process must be free of corruption or intimidation.” 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, AUSA Olmsted will be on duty in this district while the polls are open. He can be reached by the public at the following telephone numbers: (518) 431-0247 and (315) 448-0672.
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 (518) 465-7551 or (315) 424-2400.
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.