United States Attorneys Damian Williams and Breon Peace announced today that Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) will lead the efforts of their Offices in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 8, 2022, general election. AUSA David J. Kennedy has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the Southern District of New York, and AUSA Erik Paulsen has been appointed to serve as the DEO for the Eastern District of New York. In their capacity as DEOs, these AUSAs are responsible for overseeing the Districts’ handling of election day complaints of voting rights concerns, threats of violence to election officials or staff, and election fraud, in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.
United States Attorney Williams said: “Free and fair elections are principal to democracy, and every vote counts. It is the solemn privilege of this Office to work together with our law enforcement partners to ensure that New Yorkers are able to exercise their inherent right to select their representatives unencumbered by unlawful intimidation or interference. We encourage anyone who finds their civic voting protections subject to hindrance to please contact the numbers below.”
United States Attorney Peace said: “The right of all citizens in the district to cast their votes and have their votes counted fairly and without interference, discrimination or threat of violence, is a cornerstone of our democracy and this Office will vigorously defend that right with the full force of federal law.”
The Department of Justice plays an important role in deterring and combatting discrimination and intimidation at the polls, threats of violence directed at election officials and poll workers, and election fraud. The Department will address these violations wherever they occur. The Department’s longstanding Election Day Program furthers these goals and also seeks to ensure public confidence in the electoral process by providing local points of contact within the Department for the public to report possible federal election law violations.
Federal law protects against such crimes as threatening violence against election officials or staff, 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 interference, including intimidation, and other acts designed to prevent or discourage people from voting or voting for the candidate of their choice. The Voting Rights Act 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 inability to read or write in English).
United States Attorneys Williams and Peace stated that: “The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the franchise can exercise it if they choose, and that those who seek to corrupt it are brought to justice. In order to respond to complaints of voting rights concerns and election fraud during the upcoming election, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, AUSAs will be on duty in this District while the polls are open.”
In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights concerns during the voting period that ends on November 8, 2022, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, the United States Attorneys said that their Offices will be available to receive complaints at the following numbers through Tuesday, November 8, 2022:
(646) 369-4739 (for Manhattan, Bronx, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, and Westchester counties) and
(718) 254-7000 (for Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau, and Suffolk counties)
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. The local FBI field office can be reached by the public at (212) 384-1000.
Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division in Washington, DC 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 almost always have faster reaction capacity in an emergency.
The United States Attorneys also noted that the following additional telephone numbers are available on Election Day for citizens to call for routine inquiries, such as where to vote or how late the polls are open, or to register complaints that may concern violations of New York State election laws:
IN NEW YORK CITY
City Board of Elections
Main Office (866) 868-3692
TTY #: 212-487-5496
IN COUNTIES OUTSIDE NEW YORK CITY
County Boards of Elections
Dutchess (845) 486-2473
Nassau (516) 571-8683
Orange (845) 360-6500
Orange (Spanish language) (855) 331-2444
Putnam (845) 808-1300
Rockland (845) 638-5172
Suffolk (631) 852-4500
Sullivan (845) 807-0400
Westchester (914) 995-5700