Federal Election Officer Available On Election Day To Field Complaints Of Election Fraud And Voting Rights Abuses
BIRMINGHAM -- U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance announced today that Assistant U.S. Attorney Pat Meadows will lead the efforts of her office in connection with the Justice Department's nationwide Election Day Program for the Nov. 4 general elections.
Meadows will serve as the District Election Officer for the Northern District of Alabama. In that capacity, he 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, D.C.
"Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination, and to have that vote counted without it being stolen because of fraud," Vance said. "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 contacts within the department so the public can 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 protection for the rights of voters and provides that they can vote free from acts that intimidate or harass them. For example, it may violate federal voting rights law to interrupt or intimidate voters at polling places by questioning or challenging them, or by photographing or videotaping them, under the pretext that those actions are designed to uncover illegal voting. Further, federal law protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to choose someone to assist them.
The voting 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 on Nov. 4, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, Meadows will be on duty in the Northern District while the polls are open. The public can reach him at the following number: (205) 244-2001.
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 phone number for the local FBI field office is (205) 326-6166.
Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division's Voting Section in Washington, D.C., by phone at 1-800-253-3931 or (202) 307-3961, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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," Vance said. "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."