PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard P. Barrett will lead the efforts of his Office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming general election on November 6, 2018. AUSA Barrett has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) 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 the Department of Justice in Washington D.C.
“Ensuring the fairness and stability of the election process is paramount to our democracy,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination. Every vote must be recorded fairly and accurately. My Office and the Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process. 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.”
The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls. The Department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers these goals by ensuring public confidence in the integrity of the election process and 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 designed to interrupt or intimidate voters at polling places (such as 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.
In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on November 6, 2018, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, U.S. Attorney McSwain stated that AUSA Barrett will be on duty in this District while the polls are open. AUSA Barrett can be reached by the public at (215) 861-8420.
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 (215) 418-4000.
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 [email protected] or by complaint form at http://www.justice.gov/crt/complaint/votintake/index.php.