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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI




Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


OCTOBER 27, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


BALLOT ACCESS AND VOTING INTEGRITY INITIATIVE


ELECTION OFFICER APPOINTED TO OVERSEE

ELECTION DAY PROGRAM


             KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Assistant United States Attorney Linda Parker Marshall will lead the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri in connection with the Justice Department's nationwide election day program for the Nov. 4, 2008, general elections. Marshall has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the district's handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with the Justice Department.


            The Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative was established on Oct. 8, 2002. The goals of this initiative are to increase the Justice Department’s ability to deter voter intimidation, suppression, discrimination and election fraud and to prosecute these offenses whenever and wherever they occur.


            “Our goal is to make voting easier and, equally important, to make cheating harder,” said Matt Whitworth, Acting U.S. Attorney for election matters. “We are careful not to diminish any voter’s access to the ballot while protecting the integrity of the election process. The right to vote is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all have a stake in ensuring that citizens can exercise their right to vote, while those who seek to corrupt the process are brought to justice.”


            The department's long-standing election day program is intended to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the Justice Department where the public can report possible election fraud and voting rights violations while the polls are open on election day.


            In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on Nov. 4, 2008, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, Marshall will be on duty in this district while the polls are open. She can be reached by the public at 816-426-3122 or 1-800-733-6558.


            The FBI will also have special agents available in each field office and resident agency in this district to receive allegations of election fraud, intimidation, suppression and other election abuses. The FBI can be reached by the public at the following telephone numbers:

Kansas City: 816-512-8200

Springfield and Joplin: 417-882-3303

Jefferson City and St. Joseph: 573-636-8814


            Complaints about ballot access problems or discrimination can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington, D.C., at 1-800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767. Where voter intimidation or suppression tactics target voters on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin, please contact the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section at 202-514-3204.


            Anyone who has information suggesting electoral corruption or voting rights abuses should make that information available immediately to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html