NEW JERSEY – U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced ways the public can help to safeguard elections.
Between October 30 and November 6, people can call the Election Day Hotline at 888-636-6596 for complaints of election fraud or voting rights concerns. The number will be staffed live on Election Day, Nov. 3.
“The right to vote without interference or discrimination, and to have that vote counted, is a cornerstone of our democracy,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “We will not tolerate voter intimidation, voter bribery, election fraud or theft of ballots. We take seriously our responsibility to maintain the integrity of the election process.”
Carpenito reminded the public that these actions are illegal: 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.
However, the U.S. Attorney also warned that it is illegal to take matters into your own hands. If you are trying to interrupt or intimidate voters by questioning or challenging them, or by photographing or videotaping them, you can be arrested.
It is important to note that 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), he said.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Allan Urgent, Mark McCarren and Gabriel Vidoni will lead the efforts of the Office of the Attorney General in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program. They will be overseeing the district’s handling of complaints and voting rights concerns.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation will also have special agents available in each field office. The FBI Newark field office can be reached by the public at 973-792-3000. The public may also call the FBI’s national tip line – 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). The public may also submit online tips or complaints to the FBI via fbi.gov/tips.
Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C. by phone at 800-253-3931 or by complaint form at civilrights.justice.gov.
In the case of a crime of violence or intimidation, please call 911 immediately and before contacting federal authorities.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito said, “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 to my Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”