U.S. Attorney Machen Announces Appointment Of Election Day Officer
Part of Department of Justice Efforts
To Protect the Right to Vote and Prosecute Ballot Fraud
WASHINGTON - U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. today announced the appointment of Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan P. Hooks to lead the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day program for the Nov. 4, 2014 general election.
Mr. Hooks will serve as the District Election Officer for the District of Columbia. In that capacity, he is responsible for overseeing the handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in the District of Columbia, in consultation with Justice Department headquarters.
“Over the past several years, we have been aggressive in our efforts to protect the integrity of elections in the District of Columbia,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Ensuring free and fair elections depends on citizens coming forward with information about discrimination or election fraud. We ask that citizens remain vigilant about protecting the democratic process and immediately make any specific information available to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”
The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and combating these violations whenever and wherever they occur.
The Justice 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 for the public to report possible election fraud and voting rights violations.
Federal law protects against such crimes as intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, 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 being done to uncover illegal voting, may violate federal voting rights law. Further, federal law protects the right of voters to mark their own ballots or to be assisted by a person of their choice.
In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, Mr. Hooks will be on duty in the District of Columbia while the polls are open. He can be reached by the public at 202-252-6801.
Nationally, the FBI has Special Agents in each Field Office and Resident Agency throughout the country to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses. In the District of Columbia, the FBI’s Washington Field Office can be reached at 202-278-2000.
Complaints about ballot access problems or discrimination can be made directly to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington. Civil Rights Division staff will be available by phone to receive complaints related to voting rights (1-800-253-3931 toll free or 202-307-2767) or by TTY (202-305-0082). In addition, individuals may also report complaints, problems, or concerns related to voting by fax to 202-307-3961, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and, by complaint forms that may be submitted through a link on the Department’s website, at http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot.