U.S. Attorney’s Office to Conduct Election Day Monitoring
CHICAGO — The U.S. Attorney’s Office will monitor the primary elections in Chicago and surrounding suburbs on March 15, 2016, Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announced today.
As part of the monitoring effort, the office will operate a telephone hotline for candidates or the public to report complaints related to the voting process. Two teams of Assistant U.S. Attorneys and other office personnel will monitor the hotline and be available to respond to complaints as needed.
The hotline number, staffed on Election Day only, is (312) 469-6157.
“There is no greater responsibility in a democracy than protecting the integrity of the voting process,” said Mr. Fardon. “A citizen who is entitled to vote should in no way be inhibited from doing so, and we stand ready to ensure the sanctity of the process.”
Federal law protects against such crimes as intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes. Federal law also protects the rights of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice. Violations of federal voting rights statutes carry penalties ranging from one to ten years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.
The office’s election monitoring efforts and subsequent investigations, if any, will be performed in consultation with the U.S. Justice Department. The Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Marshals Service will assist in this effort by following up, if necessary, on any complaints of election fraud or voting rights infringements.
Complaints about ballot problems or discrimination can also be made directly to the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., at (800) 253-3931 or (202) 307-2767. The Voting Section enforces the civil provisions of federal laws that protect the right to vote, including the Voting Rights Act, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the National Voter Registration Act, the Help America Vote Act and the Civil Rights Acts.
For information as to the location and hours of polling locations, Illinois residents are advised to contact the Illinois State Board of Elections by logging on to www.elections.il.gov or by calling (312) 814-6440.