News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 16, 2012

Hogsett announces election integrity efforts by U.S. Attorney’s Office


The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE —

U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett was in Terre Haute on Monday to announce participation in the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program — a program designed to increase voter confidence in the integrity of the election process.

“It is a cornerstone of our democracy that every Hoosier must be able to vote without interference or discrimination, and that their vote must be counted,” Hogsett said in a press release. “Equally important is reaffirming the integrity of the ballot box. That also is a top priority for our office during this election year.”

An assistant U.S. attorney has been assigned to oversee the handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with the Justice Department, Hogsett said. He also announced that eight federal prosecutors will be available to the public on Nov. 6, with at least two prosecutors on call in Indianapolis, New Albany, Terre Haute and Evansville.

In Terre Haute, voters can call the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 812-232-0231 on election day.

Federal law protects against the crimes of intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input.

For example, actions designed to interrupt or intimidate voters at polling places — such as by questioning them 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 also protects the right of voters to make their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice.

Presidential elections usually bring higher voter turnout to the polls, Hogsett said in the press release, and he hopes that by announcing the election integrity efforts, more voters will feel confident about casting their ballots.

Hogsett encouraged voters who feel their rights have been impinged upon at a local polling place to seek remedy with the county election board first before contacting federal authorities.

But if the issue is not addressed, he said, voters can call the U.S. Attorney’s Office or the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington, D.C., at 800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767.