U.S. Attorney Phillips 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 Channing D. Phillips today announced the appointment of Assistant U.S. Attorney T. Patrick Martin 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. 8, 2016 general election.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin, who heads the Office’s Fraud and Public Corruption Section, 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.
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 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 franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the 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, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin will be on duty in the District of Columbia while the polls are open. Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin can be reached by the public at 202-252-7732.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by complaint form at http://www.justice.gov/crt/complaint/votintake/index.php.