U.S. Attorney Announces Resources for Voter Intimidation and Election Fraud
Assistant U. S. Attorney Christopher P. Tenorio (619) 909-7556
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – October 19, 2020
U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer announced today that Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher P. Tenorio will lead the efforts on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming general election on November 3, 2020.
Mr. Tenorio has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer for the Southern District of California, which includes San Diego and Imperial Counties. He will be responsible for overseeing the district’s handling of complaints of voting rights abuses and election fraud, in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination,” Brewer said. “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the integrity of the election process, stopping fraud, and making sure votes are not stolen.”
The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring and responding to election fraud and discrimination at the polls. The Department’s long-standing Election Day Program aims to enhance this role and ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process. To this end, the Department is providing local points of contact for the public to report possible election fraud and voting rights violations through Election Day.
Federal law prohibits 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. Federal law also protects voters from intimidation and harassment, including challenges at polling places designed to interrupt or intimidate voters, or the photographing or videotaping of voters under the pretext of uncovering illegal voting. Federal law also protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to receive assistance by a person of their choice to overcome a disability or illiteracy.
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, United States Attorney Brewer stated that AUSA/DEO Tenorio will be on duty while the polls are open. The public can reach him at (619) 909-7556.
In addition, the FBI will have special agents and an Election Crimes Coordinator available in each field office and resident agency throughout the country to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses. The public can contact the San Diego FBI at (858) 320-1800. The public may also contact the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C. at (800) 253-3931 or (202) 307-2767, or by complaint form at https://civilrights.justice.gov/.
The public is advised, however, to call 911 immediately in the case of a crime of violence or active intimidation. State and local police have primary jurisdiction over polling places and can generally respond more quickly in an emergency. Federal authorities can respond thereafter.
Brewer said, “Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the cooperation of the American electorate. It is imperative that those who have specific information about discrimination or election fraud make that information available to my Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”