Middle District Election Officer Appointed
MACON: United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, Charles E. Peeler, announced Wednesday, October 31, 2018 that Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Todd P. Swanson will lead office efforts in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 6, 2018 general election. AUSA Swanson has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the Middle District of Georgia, and in that capacity 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 must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted without it being stolen because of fraud,” said Charles E. Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District. “The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to 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 (where voters need assistance because of disability or illiteracy).
“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,” said United States Attorney Peeler.
In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on November 6, 2018, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, United States Attorney Peeler stated that AUSA/DEO Swanson will be on duty in the Middle District of Georgia while the polls are open. AUSA/DEO Swanson can be reached by the public at the following telephone number: (478) 752-3511. This number is for reports of voting irregularities only. All press inquiries or requests for information should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603, or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.
In addition, the FBI will have special agents available in field offices and resident agencies throughout the country to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on Election Day. The Albany FBI resident agency can be reached at (229) 434-1489; the Athens FBI resident agency can be reached at (706) 549-6477; the Columbus FBI resident agency can be reached at (706) 596-9603; the Macon FBI resident agency can be reached at (478) 745-1271; and the Valdosta FBI resident agency can be reached at (229) 247-2292.
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.
“To ensure a free and fair election, 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 of the Department of Justice,” said U. S. Attorney Peeler.