Statement of the United States Attorney’s Office Regarding Justice Department Efforts to Protect Voting Rights
PHOENIX - United States Attorney John S. Leonardo announced today that Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Todd M. Allison will lead the efforts of his Office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming Nov. 8, 2016, general elections. AUSA Allison has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the District of Arizona, 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 in Washington.
“Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the cooperation of the American electorate,” stated United States Attorney John S. Leonardo. “It is imperative that those who have specific information about discrimination, voter intimidation, or election fraud make that information available immediately to my Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”
The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring election fraud, voter intimidation, 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, impersonating voters, 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 right to vote is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the electoral 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 Nov. 8, 2016, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, AUSA Allison will be on duty in this District the entire time that the polls are open. He can be reached by the public at the following telephone number: (602) 595-2866.
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 any other election abuses on election day. The local FBI field office can be reached by the public at (623) 466-1999.
Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington, DC by phone at 1-800-253-3931 or (202) 307-2767, by fax at (202) 307-3961, by email to email@example.com or by complaint format at http://www.justice.gov/crt/complaint/votintake/index.php.
RELEASE NUMBER: 2016-092_2016 Gen Elections
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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/
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