U.S. Attorney – Watching for election fraud in Alabama

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BIRMINGHAM Assistant U.S. Attorneys Pat Meadows and Ramona Albin will lead efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in connection with the Department of Justice’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 6 general elections, First Assistant U.S. Attorney John England announced today.

Meadows is the district election officer for the Northern District of Alabama. In that capacity, and in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington, D.C., Meadows is responsible for overseeing the district’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses.

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

The Justice Department has an important role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls and combating these violations whenever and wherever they occur. The department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers these goals. It also seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the Justice Department where the public may 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, 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 by questioning or challenging them or by photographing or videotaping them, under the pretext that these are efforts to uncover illegal voting, may violate federal voting rights law. Further, federal law protects the right of voters to mark their own ballots or to be assisted by a person of their choice.

The right to vote is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the franchise exercise it if they choose and that those who seek to corrupt it are brought to justice.

In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on November 6 and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, Meadows and Albin will be on duty in this district while the polls are open, England said. The public can reach them by telephone at 205-244-2001.

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 in Birmingham can be reached by the public at 205-326-6166.

Complaints about ballot access problems or discrimination can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington at 1-800-253-3931 or (202) 307-2767.

“Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the cooperation of the American electorate,” England said. “It is imperative that those who have specific information about discrimination or election fraud make that information available immediately to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, or the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.”

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