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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 15, 2020

DOJ Establishes Local Contacts for November 2020 Election

GREENSBORO, N.C. – United States Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin announced today that Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) JoAnna McFadden has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the Middle District of North Carolina, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights concerns in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.

“Fair and trustworthy elections are the cornerstone of our constitutional democracy. Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination, and to have that vote counted,” said United States Attorney Martin. “The Department of Justice will act promptly and appropriately to protect the integrity of the election process, but we need public involvement to ensure that elections are both free and fair. If you have specific information about election fraud, discrimination, or interference with voting, please call the U.S. Attorney’s Office or the FBI immediately.”

In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights concerns during the voting period that ends on November 3, 2020, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, AUSA/DEO McFadden will be on duty in this District while the polls are open. She can be reached by the public at (336) 333-5351. In addition, the FBI will have special agents available in each field office and resident agency throughout the country to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on election day. The local FBI office can be reached by the public at (704) 672-6800 and callers should ask to speak with the Election Crimes Coordinator.

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 during the early voting period and 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 also protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted in voting by a person of their choice (where voters need assistance because of disability or illiteracy).

Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws also can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division in Washington, DC by phone at 800-253-3931 or by complaint form at https://civilrights.justice.gov/.

Please note, however, in the case of a crime of violence or intimidation, citizens should call 911 immediately and before contacting federal authorities. State and local police have primary jurisdiction over polling places, and almost always have faster reaction capacity in an emergency.

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Updated October 16, 2020