Federal and State Officials and MCLU Attorney Available to Field Election Fraud Claims
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 01, 2012|
United States Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty, II announced today that his office, in cooperation with Maine State officials, will participate in the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 6, 2012 general elections. The program is designed to handle complaints in the District of Maine of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington and the State of Maine Attorney General’s Office.
Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) James L. McCarthy and John G. Osborn will lead the efforts of the Maine U.S. Attorney’s Office. AUSAs McCarthy and Osborn have been appointed to serve as district election officers (DEOs) for the District of Maine. Maine Assistant Attorney General Phyllis Gardiner and Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn will coordinate election oversight for the State of Maine. Attorney Zachary Heiden of the Maine Civil Liberties Union will also be available to assist anyone who experiences difficulty in exercising their right to vote.
In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (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.
Arrangements have been made for attorneys to have immediate access to both federal and state court judges during the times that the polls are open to assist in the enforcement of voting rights if necessary.
United States Attorney Delahanty said, “Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted without it being stolen because of 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 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 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.
The voting franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the franchise exercise it if they choose and that those who seek to corrupt it 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 Delahanty stated that DEOs McCarthy and Osborn will be on duty in his office while the polls are open. They can be reached by the public at the following telephone numbers: (207) 262-4646 (AUSA McCarthy) and (207) 771-3277 (AUSA Osborn).
The principal Maine FBI Resident Agency can be reached by the public at (207) 774-9322. Assistant Attorney General Gardiner may be contacted at the Attorney General’s Office by calling: (207) 626-8830. Deputy Secretary of State Flynn can be reached at (207) 624-7659 or (207) 624-7736. Attorney Heiden of the MCLU will be available at (207) 774-5444.
Complaints about ballot access problems or discrimination can also be made directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington at 1-800-253-3931 or (202) 307-2767.
United States Attorney Delahanty said, “Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the cooperation of the American electorate. 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.”