U.S. Attorney Announces Task Force to Review Election Fraud Allegations

Federal Prosecutors and Agents Will Work with State Authorities

BALTIMORE (Oct. 21, 2008)—A team of federal prosecutors and FBI agents will coordinate with state authorities to review any allegations of election fraud and voting rights abuses that arise in connection with the general election in Maryland on November 4, 2008, United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein announced Monday.

The federal task force has consulted with Maryland Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone and other state officials to discuss the procedures to handle allegations of election fraud or voting rights violations. Such consultation is recommended in national guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, which encourages United States Attorneys to assist local authorities in deterring, detecting and prosecuting electoral corruption and voting rights violations.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, “Our goal is to prevent election fraud and preserve public confidence in the integrity of the democratic process. Fair elections are the foundation of American government. Because elections involve high stakes and strong emotions, allegations of wrongdoing frequently arise. We will review all allegations in a nonpartisan manner and pursue any evidence that warrants criminal prosecution.”

Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Amy Jo Lyons said, “Anyone who is asked to participate in questionable election practices, or who becomes aware of specific information regarding electoral corruption, should contact the FBI immediately so that we can take appropriate action. Callers can reach the FBI by telephone at 410/265-8080. Complaints also may be filed by e-mail to baltimore@ic.fbi.gov.”

The U.S. Attorney has designated Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Dunne and Tonya Kelly Kowitz to serve as District Election Officers and lead the federal task force. In addition to reviewing any allegations that arise before the election, the team of federal prosecutors and FBI agents will remain on duty throughout the day while the polls are open.

The federal task force will consult with officials at Justice Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. about any complaints that may warrant federal criminal investigation, and they will direct other complaints to the appropriate state or local authorities.

United States Attorney Rosenstein stated that potential federal election crimes include:

-- forging ballots
-- stealing ballots
-- providing false information in order to vote
-- placing fictitious names on voter registration rolls
-- voting by non-citizens (regardless of immigration status)
-- falsely claiming U.S. citizenship in order to vote
-- corruption by election officials
-- paying voters
-- intimidating voters
-- rendering false vote tabulations
-- violating campaign finance laws

Some forms of election fraud are more subtle. For example, it is a federal crime to seek out elderly or illiterate voters for the purpose of obtaining control of their ballots. In addition, every voter has the right to mark his or her ballot in private.

Allegations of ballot access problems or discrimination also can be reported directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington at 800/253-3931 or 202/307-2767.

Source: United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein

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