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U.S. attorney plans anti-fraud effort for Election Day

Federal efforts are again underway to address potential fraud on Election Day.

United States Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft announced today that Assistant United States Attorney Norman Smith will lead local efforts in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for Tuesday’s general election.

Smith has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer for the Southern District of Illinois and 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.

The department has had a long-standing Election Day program that 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.

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).

Smith will be on duty in the district while the polls are open. He can be reached by the public at (618) 628-3700.

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 (618) 397-4401.

Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington, DC 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 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. 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,” Weinhoeft said.

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