United States Attorney Announces Election Day Program
United States Attorney James L. Santelle announced today that he has appointed two experienced Assistant United States Attorneys to lead the efforts of his office in connection with the United States Department of Justice’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 4, 2014 elections. United States Attorney Santelle appointed Richard G. Frohling and Gordon P. Giampietro to serve as Election Officers for the Eastern District, which covers 28 counties in the eastern one-third of the State of Wisconsin, including Milwaukee. As Election Officers, AUSA Frohling and AUSA Giampietro are responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of complaints of voting rights abuses and election fraud in consultation with officials of the Justice Department Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
In making this announcement, United States Attorney Santelle said: “Every citizen must be able to vote without interference, discrimination, or other unlawful conduct that limits or prevents full access to the polls. Our office, in combination with our colleagues at the Justice Department in Washington, will act promptly and effectively to protect the integrity of the election process.” United States Attorney Santelle added: “The franchise is the cornerstone of our American democracy. We must ensure that those who are entitled to vote are permitted to do so and that those who seek to compromise our system of elective government are brought to justice.”
The United States Department of Justice has an important role in deterring discrimination and fraud 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 to the public local points of contact to report possible voting rights violations while the polls are open on Election Day. As Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. recently reaffirmed: “This Department will never yield in its commitment to protecting that most sacred of Americans’ rights—the right to vote.”
Federal law protects against crimes such 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 includes special protections of the rights of voters and specifically provides that they can vote free from acts of intimidation or harassment. For example, the actions of persons designed to interrupt or intimidate voters at polling places by questioning, challenging, photographing, or videotaping them, under the pretext that these are actions intended to reveal illegal voting, may violate federal voting rights law. Federal law also protects the right of voters to mark their own ballots or to be assisted by persons of their choice.
In order to respond to complaints of voting rights abuses or election fraud on November 4, 2014, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, AUSA Frohling and AUSA Giampietro will be on official duty while the polls are open. AUSA Frohling can be reached by calling (414) 297-4528, and AUSA Giampietro can be reached at (414) 297-1083.
In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will have Special Agents available in each Field Office and Resident Agency throughout the country, including those in the State of Wisconsin, to receive allegations of election abuses and fraud on Election Day. The FBI in Milwaukee can be reached by calling (414) 276-4684.
Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can also be made directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington by telephone 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.