Hogsett Announces Significant Election Integrity Efforts by U.S. Attorney’s Office
Says Unprecedented Number of Federal Prosecutors Will Coordinate Voter Protection Statewide
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 15, 2012|
EVANSVILLE—Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will lead its standard statewide voter protection effort as part of the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 6, 2012 general elections in Indiana.
“It is a cornerstone of our democracy that every Hoosier must be able to vote without interference or discrimination, and that their vote must be counted,” said Hogsett. “Equally important is reaffirming the integrity of the ballot box. That also is a top priority for our office during this election year.”
In furtherance of this commitment, Hogsett announced today that Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Joe Vaughn will head the statewide election protection effort. AUSA Vaughn has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the Southern District of Indiana and in that capacity will responsible for overseeing the district’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with the Justice Department.
In addition to participating in the Justice Department’s long-standing Election Day Program, Hogsett said he seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact across Indiana on Election Day for the public to report possible election fraud and voting rights violations while the polls are open.
Hogsett said that the number of federal prosecutors involved would be unprecedented in Indiana. He noted that eight prosecutors will be available to the public in United States Attorney’s Offices throughout the district. Specifically, at least two prosecutors will be on call in Indianapolis, New Albany, Terre Haute, and Evansville.
In Evansville, voters will be able to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Election Day at (812) 465-6475
Hogsett said that 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 addition to efforts by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation 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.
In addition, Hogsett said that 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.