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Friday, October 21, 2016

U.S. Attorneys for Wisconsin announce Election Day program to prevent voting fraud, preserve voting rights

MADISON -- United States Attorneys John W. Vaudreuil of the Western District of Wisconsin and Gregory J. Haanstad of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced today that they have appointed Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) to lead the efforts of their respective offices in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the November 8, 2016 elections. 
AUSA Peter Jarosz has been appointed to serve as the Election Officer for the Western District of Wisconsin, which covers Madison and approximately the western 44 counties of the state.  AUSAs Zachary Corey and Christopher Ladwig have been appointed to serve as the Election Officers for the Eastern District, which covers Milwaukee and approximately the eastern 28 counties of the state.  As Election Officers, in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington, these AUSAs are responsible for overseeing the handling of complaints of voting rights abuses and election fraud in their respective districts.
“Wisconsin's proud history is one of expanding the opportunity to vote, and ensuring that every citizen votes without interference or discrimination” said United States Attorney Vaudreuil.  “This Department will never yield in its commitment to protecting that most sacred of Americans' rights - the right to vote.”
United States Attorney Haanstad added, “The right to vote is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must work to ensure that those who are entitled to vote are free to exercise that right if they choose, and that those who seek to interfere with that right are brought to justice.”
The Department of Justice 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, and also 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 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 or 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.
In order to respond to complaints of voting rights abuses or election fraud on November 8, 2016, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, the Election Officers will be on duty in their districts while the polls are open.  AUSA Jarosz can be reached by calling (608) 658-3743.  AUSA Corey can be reached by calling (414) 297-1083, and AUSA Ladwig can be reached by calling (414) 297-4103.
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 in Madison can be reached by calling (608) 833-4600.  The FBI in Milwaukee can be reached by calling (414) 276-4684. 
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 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.

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