NEWARK, NJ — U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced Oct. 31 that senior trial counsel Allen B.K. Urgent will lead the office’s efforts in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the Nov. 6 general election.
Urgent, senior trial counsel Mark McCarren and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gabriel Vidoni have been appointed to serve as District Election Officers for the District of New Jersey, and are responsible for handling complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.
“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy,” Carpenito said. “Every voter must be free to cast a ballot without being intimidated or harassed, and their votes must be counted accurately and without being subjected to fraud of any kind.”
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. 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 actions to uncover illegal voting, may violate federal voting rights law. Federal law protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice when voters need assistance because of disability or illiteracy.
In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on Nov. 6 and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, the DEOs will be on duty in New Jersey while the polls are open. They can be reached by the public at 888-636-6596.
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 973-792-3000.
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 800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767, by fax at 202-307-3961, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by complaint form at http://www.justice.gov/crt/complaint/votintake/index.php.