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Friday
October 30th, 2020

Special to the Leader & Times

 

A federal prosecutor will be on duty on Election Day to respond to complaints of possible election fraud or voting rights violations in Kansas, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.

McAllister said he has appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Maag to serve as the District Election Officer for Kansas. Maag will be responsible for overseeing the handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights concerns in consultation with Justice Department officials in Washington.

Maag will be available to the public at 785-295-2858 while the polls are open on Nov. 3.

“I don’t expect any problems during voting,” McAllister said. “However, I want to remind Kansans that there are penalties under federal law for any efforts to influence the outcome of an election through fraud or to improperly prevent another person from exercising the right to vote. The Department of Justice has the authority to monitor polling places or take other measures to protect Kansans’ right to vote in free and fair elections.”

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.  For example, actions of persons 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. Further, federal law protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice (where voters need assistance because of disability or illiteracy).

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In addition, 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.

Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C. by phone at 800-253-3931 or by complaint form at https://civilrights.justice.gov/

Please note, however, in the case of a crime of violence or intimidation, please call 911 immediately and before contacting federal authorities. State and local police have primary jurisdiction over polling places and may have faster reaction capacity in an emergency.

“Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the cooperation of the American electorate,” McAllister said. “It is imperative that those who have specific information about discrimination or election fraud make that information available to my Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”

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