U.S. Attorney Announces November 4 Efforts to Protect Voting Rights, Prosecute Ballot Fraud
SHREVEPORT, LAFAYETTE, LAKE CHARLES, ALEXANDRIA, MONROE, La.– United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley advises that federal staff will be available to respond to complaints of possible election fraud and other violations of voting rights during the November 4 general election.
Election-crime complaints should be directed to the local U.S. Attorney’s Office or the local FBI office. The U.S. Attorney’s Office can be reached by the public at 318-676-3600 (Shreveport) or 337-262-6618 (Lafayette). The local FBI field offices can be reached by the public at the following telephone numbers: Shreveport at 318-861-1890 or Lafayette at 337-233-2164. For a complete list of FBI field offices in Louisiana visit www.fbi.gov/neworleans/contact-us/territory-jurisdiction
Finley is joining other federal prosecutors nationwide to participate in the Department of Justice’s election-day program. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is responsible for overseeing and handling election fraud complaints and voting rights abuses in conjunction with the Justice Department.
On Nov. 4, 2014, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices will work with specially trained FBI personnel in each district to ensure that complaints from the public involving possible voter fraud are handled appropriately. Specifically:
- In consultation with federal prosecutors at the Public Integrity Section in Washington, D.C., the District Election Officers in U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, FBI officials at headquarters in Washington, D.C., and FBI Special Agents serving as Election Crime Coordinators in the FBI’s 56 field offices will be on duty while polls are open, to receive complaints from the public.
- Public Integrity Section prosecutors are available to consult and coordinate with the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the FBI regarding the handling of election-crime allegations.
- Complaints related to violence, threats of violence, or intimidation at a polling place should be reported first to local police authorities by calling 911.
Both protecting the right to vote and combating election fraud are essential to maintaining the confidence of all Americans in our democratic system of government. We encourage anyone who has information suggesting voting discrimination or ballot fraud to contact the appropriate authorities.
Federal law protects against such crimes as intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input.
The Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section enforces the civil provisions of a wide range of federal statutes that protect the right to vote including: the Voting Rights Act; the National Voter Registration Act; the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act; and the Help America Vote Act. Among other things, collectively, these laws:
- prohibit election practices that have either a discriminatory purpose based on race or membership in a minority language group or a discriminatory result of members of racial or language minority groups having less opportunity than other citizens to participate in the political process;
- prohibit intimidation of voters;
- provide that voters who need assistance in voting because of disability or illiteracy can obtain assistance from a person of their choice;
- require minority language election materials and assistance in certain jurisdictions;
- provide for accessible election machines for voters with disabilities;
- require provisional ballots for voters who assert they are eligible but whose names do not appear on poll books;
- provide for absentee ballots for service members, their family members and U.S. citizens living abroad;
- require states to ensure that citizens can register at drivers’ license offices, public assistance offices, other state agencies and through the mail; and
- include requirements regarding maintaining voter registration lists.
For more information on the acts that the division enforces, visit www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/overview.php.
Civil Rights Division staff will be available by phone to receive complaints related to voting rights (1-800-253-3931 toll free or 202-307-2767) or by TTY (202-305-0082). In addition, individuals may also report complaints, problems, or concerns related to voting by fax to 202-307-3961, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and, by complaint forms that may be submitted through a link on the Department’s website, at http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot.