You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Utah

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 20, 2020

U.S. Attorney Appoints Elections Officer For Utah

SALT LAKE CITY – United States Attorney John W. Huber announced today that Assistant United States Attorney Aaron Clark 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.  Clark will coordinate with election officials in Utah and at the Department of Justice to ensure that all qualified voters in Utah have the opportunity to cast their ballots and have their votes counted free of discrimination, intimidation, or fraud in the election process.

“Although Utah has a history of conducting problem-free elections, we want to make sure residents of Utah know that reports of fraud or abuse will be taken seriously,” Huber said today.  “Election fraud and voting rights abuses dilute the worth of votes honestly cast.  They also corrupt the essence of our representative form of government.  Whether a Utah voter is mailing in a ballot or voting in person, anyone who has specific information about election fraud or discrimination should pass that information on to my office or to the FBI,” Huber said.           

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 during the election process.

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 (where voters need assistance because of disability or illiteracy).           

The administration of the election process is primarily a state rather than a federal function.  States have the power to establish the place, time, and manner for holding elections.

Concerns about election fraud or voting rights abuses in Utah should be referred to Clark. He can be reached at 801-325-1405. In addition, the FBI will have special agents available throughout the country to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on Election Day.  The Utah FBI office can be reached at 801-579-1400.

Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division in Washington, DC by phone at 800-253-3931 or by complaint form at https://civilrights.justice.gov/ .

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.

“Voting rights are core to who we are as Americans, and we expect free and fair elections. 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,” Huber said

###

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.
 

Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Component(s): 
Updated October 20, 2020