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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

U.S. Attorney Ortiz Appoints District Election Officer to Monitor Integrity of Polls

BOSTON – U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz announced today that Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Eugenia M. Carris will lead the efforts of her Office to monitor the upcoming Nov. 8, 2016 general elections.  The effort is part of the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program.  AUSA Carris has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for Massachusetts, and 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.

“Every citizen has the right to vote without interference or discrimination,” said U.S. Attorney Ortiz.  “The Department of Justice is committed to preventing fraud on election day in polling locations throughout Massachusetts in order to aggressively protect the integrity of the election process.”

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.

Voting is the cornerstone of American democracy.  We all must ensure that those who are entitled to vote are able to exercise their right if they choose, and that those who seek to impede that right 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/DEO Carris will be on duty in this District while the polls are open.  She can be reached at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston at (617) 748-3100.

In addition, the FBI will have Special Agents Kevin Sheahan available in Boston and Joe Brannan available in Springfield to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on election day.  The local FBI field office can be reached by the public at (413) 732-0159.

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 voting.section@usdoj.gov or by complaint form at http://www.justice.gov/crt/complaint/votintake/index.php.

 “Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the cooperation of the American electorate,” said U.S. Attorney Ortiz.  “It is imperative that those who have specific information about discrimination or election fraud make that information available immediately to my Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”

Topic: 
Civil Rights
Updated October 25, 2016