U.S. Attorney's Office implements Election Day Program to stop fraud and protect voting rights
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Carol Casto announced today that Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Gabriele Wohl will lead the efforts of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 8, 2016, general election. AUSA Wohl has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the Southern District of West Virginia, and in that capacity 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.
United States Attorney Carol Casto said, “Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination. My office and the Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively 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 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 protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice.
In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on November 8, 2016, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, United States Attorney Casto stated that AUSA/DEO Wohl will be on duty in the Southern District of West Virginia while the polls are open. She can be reached by the public at the following telephone number: 304-345-2200.
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 in Charleston can be reached by the public at 304-346-2300.
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 202-307-2767, by fax at 202-307-3961, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by complaint form at http://www.justice.gov/crt/complaint/votintake/index.php.
United States Attorney Casto said, “Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the cooperation of American voters. We rely on you to be our eyes and ears in the community and at the polling places and to report any irregularities you observe in the voting process. It is imperative that if you have specific information about discrimination or election fraud you communicate that information immediately to my Office, the FBI, or the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. We want to make sure that every voter and every vote counts.”
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