News and Press Releases

CONTACT: 919/856-4530

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Friday - October 31, 2003

RALEIGH - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced today that Robert J. Higdon, Jr., an Assistant United States Attorney and Criminal Division Chief in the Eastern District of North Carolina, will lead the efforts of his office in connection with the Justice Department's nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 4, 2003 general elections. AUSA Higdon has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the Eastern District, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the district's handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters.

On October 1 of last year, Attorney General John Ashcroft established a Department-wide Voting Access and Integrity Initiative. The goals of this initiative are to increase the Department's ability to deter election fraud and discrimination at the polls and to prosecute these offenses whenever and wherever they occur. 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 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 November 4, 2003, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, USA Whitney stated that Assistant U. S. Attorney/DEO Higdon will be on duty in this district while the polls are open. He can be reached at 919/856-4530.

U. S. Attorney Whitney said, "Election fraud and voting rights abuses dilute the worth of votes honestly cast. They also corrupt the essence of our representative form of government. As crimes against both the individual and the government, they will be dealt with promptly and aggressively. Anyone who has information suggesting electoral corruption or voting rights violations should make that information available immediately to my office."

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