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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 16, 2020

Southern District of Illinois U.S.Attorney Announces Point of Contact For Election Fraud Complaints

Fairview Heights, Ill. – United States Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft announced today that Assistant
United States Attorney (AUSA) Norman R. Smith will lead the efforts of his Office in connection
with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 3, 2020
general election. AUSA Smith has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for
the Southern District of Illinois, 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, D.C.

U.S. Attorney Weinhoeft said, “Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or
discrimination and to have that vote counted without it being stolen because of fraud. The
Department of Justice will always act appropriately 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 through Election Day.

Federal law protects against crimes such 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 laws. 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 tho e
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
concerns during the voting period that ends on Nov. 3, 2020, and to ensure that such complaints are
directed to the appropriate authorities, United States Attorney Weinhoeft stated that AUSA/DEO
Norman
R. Smith will be on duty in this district while the polls are open. He can be reached by the public
at the following telephone number: (618) 628-3700.

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 field office can be reached by the public at (618) 397-4401.

Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the
Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., 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, please 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.

U.S. Attorney Weinhoeft 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.

Updated October 16, 2020