Department of Justice SealDepartment of Justice
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Fact Sheet: Protecting Voting Rights and Preventing Election Fraud

One of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) highest priorities is to protect voting rights and enforce specific federal laws that help to ensure that all qualified voters have an opportunity to cast their ballots and have them counted.   The Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative was established in October 2002 to spearhead the Department’s expanded efforts to address election crimes and voting rights violations. The initiative has two overarching goals: to ensure fair voting access and to protect the integrity of the election process. 

As part of the initiative, on July 1-2, DOJ is holding its 7th annual Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Symposium at the Department’s National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina. The symposium provides for training of Department personnel in preparation for federal elections including the Nov. 4, 2008 general election.  With the participation of attorneys from 93 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the symposium strengthens the nationwide span of expertise related to enforcement of voting rights and prosecution of election crimes.  

In addition, the symposium provides guidance on federal-state coordination matters to U.S. Attorneys who in the coming months will meet with state officials responsible for handling election matters in their respective districts.   

On Nov. 4, 2008, under the programs implemented by the Criminal and Civil Rights Divisions, the Department will be working hard to ensure fair access for the nation’s voters, and to uphold the integrity of the nation’s democratic electoral process. The Justice Department enforces specific federal voting rights laws and has accomplished significant results in the past several years.  These efforts include the following: 

Civil Rights Division Enforcement:          

The Civil Rights Division enforces the civil provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the subsequent amendments; the Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act of 1986 (UOCAVA); the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (Motor Voter or NVRA); and the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). For Election Day, Nov. 4, 2008, the Civil Rights Division will implement a comprehensive program to help ensure ballot access which will include the following: 


 Civil Rights Division Record on Election Matters: 

The Civil Rights Division’s commitment to ensuring voter access has resulted in an unprecedented scope of observer and monitor coverage during the past six years.  Moreover, a majority of all federal court orders providing for federal observers were obtained or extended by this Administration. 


 Criminal Division Enforcement:

The Criminal Division's Public Integrity Section and the Department's 93 U.S. Attorneys Offices are responsible for enforcing the election fraud laws passed by Congress and signed by the President. On Nov. 4, 2008, they will do so by ensuring the following: 


 Criminal Division Record on Voting Fraud:  

The Criminal Division and the Department's 93 U.S. Attorneys Offices enforce laws that prohibit the following: voter intimidation; voting by ineligible individuals; vote buying; destruction of valid ballots or registrations; fraud related to counting more votes then registered voters; altering vote tallies; voting in multiple counties; abuse of absentee ballots; malfeasance by election officials; the disappearance of ballot boxes; furnishing fraudulent voter registration forms to election registrars; and forging the names of voters on absentee ballot materials.