U.S. Attorney Announces Voter Integrity Program For Election

United States Attorney William N. Nettles announced that Assistant United States Attorney Barbara Murcier Bowens  will lead the efforts of his Office in the connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 2, 2010, general elections. 
AUSA Bowens has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer for the District of South Carolina, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.  
Eight years ago, on October 1, 2002, the Department of Justice established a Department-wide Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative. 
The goals of this ongoing Initiative are to increase the Department’s ability to deter election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and to prosecute these offenses whenever and wherever they occur — in other words, to make voting easier and cheating harder and more costly.  Both goals are equally important. 
Moreover, it is imperative that in pursuing voter integrity, ballot access not be diminished or harmed in any way. 
The Department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers the goals of the initiative. 
The program 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. 
The right to vote for your leaders 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. 
United States Attorney Nettles said, “Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted without it being stolen or diluted because of  fraud.  The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process.”
In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, USA Nettles stated that Assistant United States Attorney/DEO Bowens will be vigilant prior to election day and will be on duty in this District while the polls are open. 
She can be reached by the public at the following telephone numbers: (803) 929-3052, (803) 929-3000, and (803) 212-8261.  
 The FBI will also have Special Agents available in each field office and resident agency in this District to receive allegations of election fraud, intimidation, suppression and other election abuses.  Complaints to the FBI should be made to 803-551-4200.
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. 
Where voter intimidation or suppression tactics target voters on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin, please contact the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section at 202-514-3204.
United States Attorney Nettles said, “Our office is dedicated to ensuring that no voter is disenfranchised and that a fair election is conducted.  Election fraud and voting rights abuses dilute the worth of votes honestly cast.  They also corrupt the essence of our representative form of government.  As crimes against both the individual and the government, they will be dealt with promptly and aggressively.  The effectiveness of our Election Day Program depends in large part on the watchfulness and cooperation of the American electorate.  It is imperative that those who observe or have specific information about discrimination, violations of the law, electoral corruption, or voting rights abuses should make that information available immediately to my Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”

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