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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

U.S. Attorney Nolan Announces Election Day Program For November 6th Election

United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan announced today that, as part of the State’s overall strategy to ensure the integrity of the upcoming election, she has specially assigned Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Michael Drescher to lead the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO).  The Vermont USAO program occurs in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 6, 2018 elections.  AUSA Drescher has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the District of Vermont and, in that capacity, is responsible for overseeing the Office’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office, and the Vermont Department of Public Safety.

U.S. Attorney Nolan 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 act promptly and aggressively, working with its federal and state partners, to protect the integrity of the election process.”

The Department of Justice has played a long-standing and important role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and combating these violations whenever and wherever they occur.  The Department’s enduring Election Day Program furthers these goals and seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the Department of Justice in order 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 be assisted by a person of their choice.

The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy.  We all must ensure that those 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 abuses on November 6, 2018, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, United States Attorney Nolan stated that AUSA/DEO Drescher will be on duty in this District while the polls are open.  AUSA/DEO Drescher can be reached at 802-951-6725 during regular office hours, and then at 802-651-8246 after hours on election day.  In addition, the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office has established a Hotline which Vermonters can call to report any election-related complaints.  The Hotline number is 1-800-439-VOTE (8683).

The FBI will also have special agents in each field office throughout the country to receive complaints related to allegations of election fraud and other election abuses. Vermonters can call (518) 431-7200 and calls will be directed to the appropriate field office.

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 voting.section@usdoj.gov or by completing a complaint form at http://www.justice.gov/crt/complaint/votintake/index.php.

U.S. Attorney Nolan 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 immediately to my Office, the FBI, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office, or the Vermont Department of Public Safety.”

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, the State’s Chief Election Official, stated: “Securing Vermont’s elections takes a dedicated team of state and federal partners. Our state and federal partners are all working diligently with us to ensure that when a Vermont voter goes to the polls on Election Day they can cast their ballot confident in the integrity and security of their vote.”  He added, “No Vermont voter should be denied their Constitutional right to cast a ballot, and any voter experiencing issues on Election Day may call our Election Day hotline at 1-800-439-VOTE (8683).”

Topic(s): 
Community Outreach
Office and Personnel Updates
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Updated October 30, 2018