a USDOJ: US Attorney's Office - CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA - 155
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Federal Prosecutor in Los Angeles to Serve as Election Officer for Much of Southern California During November 6 General Election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2012

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 6 general election, United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. announced today.

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.

Since 2006, AUSA Mitchell has served as District Election Officer to handle 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.

“Even a potential violation of voting rights is an extremely serious matter,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “Every citizen is entitled to vote without interference or discrimination. Citizens should not hesitate to report possible violations of voting rights laws.”

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, according to United States Attorney Birotte. DOJ’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/.

To take complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on November 6 and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, AUSA Mitchell will be on duty at the United States Attorney’s Office. The public can call (213) 894-2484 to report possible election fraud and voting rights abuses.

In addition, 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 for the FBI Field Office in Los Angeles is (310) 477-6565.

“Our voting rights are woven into the fabric of American history and a symbol of our freedom,” said Bill L. Lewis, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The FBI is committed to ensuring those rights are protected so voters can participate in a fair election next Tuesday.”

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 email to voting.section@usdoj.gov and by a complaint form on the DOJ website: www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/.

United States Attorney Birotte stressed that 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.

Release No. 12-155

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