United States Attorneys Jointly Announce Election Day Program
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 05, 2012|
United States Attorney John W. Vaudreuil of the Western District of Wisconsin and United States Attorney James L. Santelle of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced today that they have appointed Assistant United States Attorneys to lead the efforts of their respective offices in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 6, 2012 elections.
AUSA Peter Jarosz has been appointed to serve as the election officer for the Western District of Wisconsin, which covers Madison and approximately the Western two-thirds of the state. AUSA Richard Frohling has been appointed to serve as the election officer for the Eastern District, which covers Milwaukee and approximately the Eastern one-third of the state. As election officers, AUSA Jarosz and AUSA Frohling are responsible for overseeing their districts’ handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.
United States Attorney Vaudreuil said, “Voting should be free from corruption and discrimination. The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to ensure that is the case.”
United States Attorney Santelle added, “The 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.”
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 ballots or to be assisted by a person of their choice.
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 Jarosz and AUSA Frohling will be on duty in their districts while the polls are open. AUSA Jarosz can be reached by calling (608) 658-3743. AUSA Frohling can be reached by calling (414) 297-4528.
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 FBI in Madison can be reached by calling (608) 833-4600. The FBI in Milwaukee can be reached by calling (414) 276-4684.
Complaints about ballot access problems or discrimination can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington at (800) 253-3931 or (202) 307-2767.
In a joint statement, United States Attorneys Vaudreuil and Santelle explained, “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 our offices, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”