U.S. Attorney Appoints Federal Election Officer For Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS—United States Attorney B. Todd Jones announced today that Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Nicole Engisch will lead the effort of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in connection with the U.S. Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program. AUSA Engisch will serve as the Federal District Election Officer for the District of Minnesota on November 6, 2012. In that capacity, she will be responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department headquarters in Washington, D.C.
United States Attorney B. Todd Jones 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.”
While elections are managed by each individual state, the U.S. Department of Justice has an important role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls. The Justice Department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers these goals and, thereby, ensures public confidence in the integrity of the election process.
The right to vote is a cornerstone of American democracy. Those entitled to vote must be able to exercise that right if they choose, and those who seek to corrupt the voting process must be brought to justice. Federal law prohibits 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 protects the rights of voters by providing, among other things, that they be allowed to vote free from intimidation or harassment and, if necessary, be assisted in marking their ballets by a person of their choice. As a result, actions designed to interrupt, intimidate, or challenge voters at polling places under the pretext that such action is necessary to uncover or thwart illegal voting activity must be taken with caution, so as not to violate federal voting rights law.
United States Attorney B. Todd Jones added, “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 that end, federal points of contact will be available to receive reports of possible election fraud and voting rights violations between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on November 6, 2012. AUSA Engisch may be reached by members of the public by calling (612) 408-0982.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation will also have special agents available in each field office throughout the country to investigate allegations of election fraud and other election abuses. The local FBI field office may be reached by the public at (763) 569-8000.
In addition, complaints about ballot access problems or discrimination may be made directly to the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Voting Section, in Washington, D.C., at 1-800-253-3931 or (202) 307-2767.