Feds announce efforts to thwart election fraud

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia has announced steps designed to safeguard voters’ rights on Election Day, Nov. 8.

U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger has assigned Assistant U.S. Attorney Tomika N.S. Patterson to lead the efforts of the office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program.

Patterson will serve as the district election officer for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the district’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department headquarters in Washington, according to a press release.

“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted without it being stolen because of fraud,” said Memeger in the release. “The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of 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, the release said.

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, the release said.

In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on Nov. 8, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, Memeger said Patterson will be on duty while the polls are open and can be reached by the public at 215-861-8200.

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. The local FBI field office can be reached by the public at 215-418-4000, the release said.

Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington by phone at 800-253-3931, by fax at 202-307-3961, by email to voting.section@usdoj.gov or by 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 the American electorate,” Memeger said in the release. “It is imperative that those who have specific information about discrimination or election fraud make that information available immediately to my office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”


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