Justice Department: Election Day efforts to protect the right to - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Justice Department: Election Day efforts to protect the right to vote and prosecute ballot fraud

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WASHINGTON – In anticipation of the upcoming general elections, the Justice Department today provided information about its efforts, through the Civil Rights Division and Criminal Division, to ensure that all qualified voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots and have their votes counted free of discrimination, intimidation or fraud in the election process.

Civil Rights Division:

The Civil Rights Division is responsible for ensuring compliance with the civil provisions of federal statutes that protect the right to vote and the criminal provisions of federal statutes that prohibit discriminatory interference with that right.

The Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section enforces the civil provisions of a wide range of federal statutes that protect the right to vote including: the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the Help America Vote Act and the Civil Rights Acts. Among other things, collectively, these laws:
• prohibit election practices that have either a discriminatory purpose, based on race or membership in a minority language group, or a discriminatory result, with members of racial or language minority groups having less opportunity than other citizens to participate in the political process;
• prohibit voter intimidation;
• provide that individuals who need assistance in voting because of disability or illiteracy can obtain assistance from a person of their choice;
• provide for accessible election machines for voters with disabilities;
• require provisional ballots for voters who assert they are eligible but whose names do not appear on poll books;
• provide for absentee ballots for service members, their family members and U.S. citizens living abroad;
• require states to ensure that citizens can register through drivers’ license offices, public assistance and disability services offices, other state agencies and through the mail; and
• include requirements regarding maintaining voter registration lists.

The Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section enforces federal criminal statutes that prohibit voter intimidation and voter suppression based on race, color, national origin or religion.

On Election Day, Nov. 8, 2016, the Civil Rights Division will implement a comprehensive program to help protect the right to vote, including:
• The Civil Rights Division will conduct monitoring in the field at polling places around the country (locations for monitoring will be announced closer to Election Day).
• Civil Rights Division attorneys in both the Voting and Criminal Sections in Washington, D.C., will be ready to receive election-related complaints of potential violations relating to any of the statutes the Civil Rights Division enforces. Attorneys in the division will take appropriate action and will consult and coordinate with local U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and with other entities within the Justice Department concerning these complaints before, during and after Election Day.
• Civil Rights Division staff will be available by phone to receive complaints related to voting rights (1-800-253-3931 toll free or 202-307-2767) or by TTY (202-305-0082). In addition, individuals may also report complaints, problems or concerns related to voting by fax 202-307-3961, by mail to voting.section@usdoj.gov and by complaint forms that may be submitted through a link on the department’s website: https://www.justice.gov/crt/voting-section.
• Complaints related to violence, threats of violence or intimidation at a polling place should always be reported immediately to local authorities by calling 911. They should also be reported to the department after local authorities are contacted.

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