Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Justice Department Slates Effort On Election Law Enforcement
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The U.S. Department of Justice will once again this year have a prosecutor and FBI agents available to investigate claims of voter fraud or other federal election law violations, U.S. Attorney Debra Yang of the Central District of California said yesterday.
“The right to vote is perhaps the most important aspect of American democracy,” Yang said in a statement. “We all must ensure that those who are entitled to vote exercise that right, while those who seek to corrupt that right are brought to justice.”
Yang has designated Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry Mitchell, a member of the office’s Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, as the DOJ district election officer. District election officers from throughout the country have received special training in enforcement of the Voting Rights Act and other federal election laws.
Mitchell’s role, the department explained in a release, is to “ensure that complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses made to federal authorities will be properly handled and, if appropriate, thoroughly investigated.
Residents and other Central District counties can call Valenzuela with election law complaints during all hours that the polls are open, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m, the department said. The number is 213-894-2484.
Voters can also call special agents of the FBI at its offices throughout the district. The Los Angeles County locations and phone numbers are Westwood, telephone 310-477-6565; Lancaster, 661-948-9399; Long Beach, 562-432-6951, and West Covina, 626-919-3434.
“Any kind of fraud at the polls undermines the democratic rights of all voters and discourages citizens from coming out on Election Day,” J. Stephen Tidwell, assistant director in charge of the FBI in Los Angeles. “It is also a crime and, therefore, punishable by law. Voters should know they can report this type of crime to the FBI for thorough investigation.”
Complaints about ballot access problems or discrimination can also be made directly to the Washington-based Voting Section in the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice at 800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767, the department said.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company