Federal Prosecutor in Los Angeles to Serve as Election Officer for Much of Southern California During November 4th General Election
LOS ANGELES—As part of the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming general elections, Assistant United States Attorney Dennis Mitchell will again serve as the District Election Officer during the November 4 general election.
Acting United States Attorney Stephanie Yonekura announced today that AUSA Mitchell will serve as District Election Officer for the Central District of California, which includes the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.
As District Election Officer, AUSA Mitchell is responsible for handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses, coordinating with the FBI Field Office in Los Angeles, and consulting with the Justice Department in Washington.
Since 2006, AUSA Mitchell has served as District Election Officer, overseeing citizen complaints concerning potential violations of the federal Voting Rights Act. As District Election Officer during next week’s balloting, AUSA Mitchell will ensure that complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses made to federal authorities will be properly handled and, if appropriate, thoroughly investigated by Special Agents with the FBI.
“Every citizen is entitled to have his or her vote counted without interference or discrimination,” said Acting United States Attorney Stephanie Yonekura. “Citizens should not hesitate to report possible violations of voting rights laws. The Justice Department is committed to act promptly to protect the integrity of the election process.”
Bill L. Lewis, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, stated: “The ability to vote in America is a sacred right, and voters are entitled to cast their ballots in a fair and lawful environment. The FBI encourages anyone who encounters violations – including discrimination, fraud or other abuse – to report it to the FBI for investigation.”
The Department of Justice is committed to deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and federal authorities will combat these violations whenever and wherever they occur. The Justice Department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers these goals, in part by instilling public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact 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.
Federal law also contains special protections for the rights of voters and provides that they can vote free of intimidation or harassment. 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. For further information, see: http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/.
The FBI Field Office in Los Angeles will have Special Agents available to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on Election Day. The phone number to report possible voting rights abuses at the FBI Field Office in Los Angeles is: (310) 996-3829.
Complaints about access to ballots or voting discrimination also may be made directly to the Voting Section at the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department in Washington at (800) 253-3931 or (202) 307-2767. In addition, individuals may also report such complaints by fax to (202) 307-3961, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and by using a form on the DOJ website: http://www.justice.gov/crt/complaint/votintake/index.php.
The effectiveness of the Justice Department’s Election Day Program depends in large part on the watchfulness and cooperation of the American electorate. Therefore, anyone with specific information about discrimination or election fraud should make that information available immediately to the District Election Officer, the FBI or the Civil Rights Division in Washington.