LEXINGTON, KY. - United States Attorneys Kerry B. Harvey and David J. Hale announced the appointment of Assistant United States Attorneys to serve as District Election Officers in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 6, 2012 general elections.
Ken Taylor has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the Eastern District of Kentucky and Tom Dyke has been appointed to serve as the DEO for the Western District of Kentucky, and in that capacity they are each responsible for overseeing their Districts’ handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.
“Every citizen has a right to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted in a fairly conducted election,” stated Kerry B. Harvey, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process.”
“Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the cooperation of the American electorate,” stated David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky during a press conference today in Frankfort, Kentucky. “It is imperative that those who have specific information about discrimination or election fraud make that information available immediately to my Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”
According to U.S. Attorney Hale, the Department of Justice enforces voting rights to soldiers and their families under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). UOCAVA requires states to allow uniformed service voters (serving both overseas and within the United States) and their families as well as overseas citizens to register to vote and to vote absentee for all elections for federal office. In 2009, Congress enacted the MOVE Act, which made broad amendments to UOCAVA, including the requirement that states transmit absentee ballots to voters covered under UOCAVA, by mail or electronically at the voter’s option, no later than 45 days before federal elections. Fort Knox and Fort Campbell Military installations are located in the Western District of Kentucky.
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 ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice.
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. 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, United States Attorney Hale stated that AUSA/DEO Tom Dyke will be on duty in Louisville while the polls are open. He can be reached by the public at the following telephone numbers: (502) 381-1886. United States Attorney Harvey stated that AUSA/DEO Ken Taylor will be on duty in Lexington, while the polls are open and that he can be reached by the public at the following telephone numbers: (859) 685-4874 or (859) 321-9488.
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 local FBI field offices can be reached by the public at (859) 246-4700 in Lexington and (502) 263-6000 in Louisville.
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. More information about UOCAVA and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/misc/activ_uoc.php.