LOS ANGELES – United States Attorney Martin Estrada announced today that Assistant United States Attorney Thomas F. Rybarczyk will serve as District Election Officer for the Central District of California during the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 8 general election.
As District Election Officer, AUSA Rybarczyk will oversee the handling of complaints related to election fraud, voting rights concerns and threats of violence to election officials or staff occurring in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. If complaints are received, he will coordinate with the FBI’s Field Office in Los Angeles to investigate them and will consult with the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted in a free and fair election,” said United States Attorney Estrada. “Similarly, election officials and staff must be able to serve without being subject to unlawful threats of violence. The Department of Justice always will work tirelessly to protect the integrity of the election process.”
The Department of Justice plays an important role in deterring and combating discrimination and intimidation at the polls, threats of violence directed at election officials and poll workers, and election fraud. The Department will address these violations wherever they occur. The Department’s longstanding Election Day Program furthers these goals and seeks to ensure public confidence in the electoral process by providing local points of contact within the Department for the public to report possible federal election law violations.
Federal law protects against such crimes as threatening violence against election officials or staff, 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. The Voting Rights Act protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice (where voters need assistance because of disability or inability to read or write in English).
“The right to vote is the cornerstone of American democracy,” United States Attorney Estrada said. “We all must ensure that those who have the right to vote can exercise it if they choose, and that those who seek to corrupt it are brought to justice.”
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 other voting rights abuses on election day. Agents at the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, which serves the same seven counties as the United States Attorney’s Office, can be reached by the public at (310) 477-6565.
Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., by phone at (800) 253-3931 or via a complaint form that may be found at https://civilrights.justice.gov.
Please note, however, in the case of a crime of violence or intimidation, please call 911 immediately and before contacting federal authorities. State and local police have primary jurisdiction over polling places, and almost always have faster reaction capacity in an emergency.