Acting United States Attorney Nicholas Vassallo announced today that Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Timothy W. Gist will lead the efforts for his office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 8, 2022, general election. AUSA Gist has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of election day complaints of voting rights concerns, threats of violence to election officials or staff, and election fraud, in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.
“Wyoming has long been successful in holding fair elections; however, we want to ensure that the process is free from interference or discrimination and that election officials and staff do not experience unlawful threats of violence,” said Acting United States Attorney Nicholas Vassallo. “ If you have specific information about voting right concerns or election fraud, please report it immediately to the local FBI office or to our office so we can take appropriate action.”
The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring and combatting discrimination and intimidation at the polls, threats of violence directed at election officials and poll workers, and election fraud. The Department will address these violations wherever they occur. The Department’s longstanding Election Day Program furthers these goals and also seeks to ensure public confidence in the electoral process by providing local points of contact within the United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI for the public to report possible federal election law violations.
Federal law protects against crimes such as threatening violence against election officials or staff, 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 interference, including intimidation, and other acts designed to prevent or discourage people from voting or voting for the candidate of their choice. The Voting Rights Act 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 inability to read or write in English).
In order to respond to complaints of voting rights concerns and election fraud during the upcoming election, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, AUSA/DEO Gist will be on duty in this District while the polls are open. 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 can be reached by the public at 307-632-6224. AUSA Gist can be reached at the Lander Office: 307-332-8195 or Toll-Free at 1-888-266-1309.
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/ .
Please note, however, 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.
Lori Hogan (Contractor)
United States Attorney Spokesman