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Fact Sheet: Protecting Voting Rights
and Prosecuting Voter Fraud

The Department of Justice plays a limited, but important, role with respect to elections.  The Justice Department’s Criminal and Civil Rights Divisions enforce specific federal laws that help to ensure that all qualified voters have an opportunity to cast their ballots and have them counted.  More specifically, the Department is responsible for enforcing federal laws that help prevent and punish fraud and other assaults on the integrity of the election process for federal elections; for ensuring compliance with the Voting Rights Act, including preventing discrimination and voter intimidation; and for protecting the voting rights of servicemembers and overseas citizens, as well as voters with disabilities.  

“The right to vote, and to have that vote count, is absolutely central to the existence of freedom,” said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.  “As the Supreme Court has characterized it, the right to vote is the ‘preservative of every other right.’  The Department of Justice is committed to both ballot access and ballot integrity and together these ensure that elections reflect the will of the people, which is the foundation of our great Nation.”  

The Justice Department has led a major enforcement effort to assure compliance with the Voting Rights Act and other federal laws that protect American voters.  During this administration, the Voting Section has broken new ground, filing the majority of all cases ever filed under the minority language provisions of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the bulk of all cases ever filed under Section 208 of the Act, which guarantees voters the right to obtain assistance in voting.
Civil Rights Division Election Day Program:

            For decades, the Justice Department has conducted an Election Day program to help protect the rights of eligible voters to cast their votes.  On Election Day, the Civil Rights Division will implement a comprehensive program to help ensure ballot access.  

The Attorney General’s Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative:

The Attorney General’s Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative was created in October 2002 to increase the Department’s ability to deter election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and to prosecute these offenses – to make voting easier and cheating harder.  It is imperative that in pursuing voting integrity, ballot access is not in any way diminished or harmed.