The FBI, through its Public Corruption Unit, has an important but limited role in ensuring fair and free elections.
In democratic societies like the United States, the voting process lets citizens hold their government accountable, conflicts be channeled into resolutions, and power transfers happen peacefully. Our system of representative government works only when honest ballots are not diluted by fraudulent ballots.
Election crimes become federal cases when:
- The ballot includes one or more federal candidates
- The crime involves an election official abusing his duties
- The crime pertains to fraudulent voter registration
- Voters are not U.S. citizens
What is not a federal election crime?
- Giving voters a ride to the polls
- Offering voters a stamp to mail an absentee ballot
- Giving voters time off to vote
- Violating state campaign finance laws
- Distributing inaccurate campaign literature
- Campaigning too close to the polls
- Trying to convince an opponent to withdraw from a race