United States Attorney Mark A. Klaassen announced today that Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Timothy W. Gist will lead the efforts of his Office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 6, 2018, general election. AUSA Gist has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the District of Wyoming. In that capacity, he is responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department in Washington. D.C.
"The right to vote is a cornerstone of American democracy, and every citizen who chooses to do so must be able to exercise that right without interference or discrimination," said United States Attorney Klaassen. "The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process."
The Department of Justice is responsible for deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and addressing these violations wherever they occur. The Department’s long-standing 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 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 (where voters need assistance because of disability or illiteracy).
AUSA/DEO Gist will be on duty while the polls are open to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities,. He can be reached by the public at the following telephone numbers: 307-332-8195 or 307-772-2124.
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 FBI field office can be reached by the public at 303-630-6916 or 307-632-6224.
Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws may also be made directly to the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice 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 online complaint form at http://www.justice.gov/crt/complaint/votintake/index.php.
"Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the cooperation of fellow citizens," said United States Attorney Klaassen. "It is imperative that those who have any specific information about discrimination or election fraud make that information available immediately to my Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division so that we can take appropriate action."