U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox announced Friday, Oct. 16, that Assistant U.S. Attorneys have been appointed to lead the efforts of his office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming Nov. 3 general election.
AUSA Michelle Englade has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer for the Eastern District of Texas, and in that capacity it responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Just Department Headquarters in Washington.
While Englade will operate out of the US Attorney’s Office headquarters in Beaumont, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas has also appointed regional officers to oversee integrity issues in other areas of the district, with AUSA Allen Hurst serving in Tyler, AUSA Andrew Stover serving in Plano, and AUSA Will Tatum serving in Sherman.
Working together with the FBI and state and local partners, these AUSAs will be collectively responsible for overseeing the district’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses, in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.
The right of every citizen to vote is a cherished hallmark of what it means to be an American. Whether it is the fraudulent obtaining of dozens of illegal ballots as has recently been alleged in the norther part of our district, or the intimidation of citizens intending to cast their vote, EDTX will act swiftly, in coordination with law enforcement partners, to protect the fairness and integrity of the democratic process,” US Attorney Stephen Cox said.
The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls and combating these violations whenever and wherever they occur. The department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers these goals and also seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the department for the public to report possible election fraud and voting rights violations while the polls are open on election day.
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).
The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the franchise exercise it if they choose, and that those who seek to corrupt it are brought to justice.
In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on Nov. 3, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, citizens can reach out directly with reports of fraud or intimidation. AUSA Englade can be reached by the the public in Beaumont at (409) 839-2538, AUSA Hurst can be reached in Tyler at (903) 590-1400, AUSA Stover can be reached in Plano at (972) 509-1201 and AUSA Tatum can be readched in Sherman at (903) 868-9454.
In addition, the FBI will have special agenst 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 FBI can be reached by the public in the Eastern District of Texas at the following telephone numbers: Beaumont, (409) 832-8571; Frisco, (214) 705-7000; Lufkin, (936) 637-3834; Sherman, (903) 892-8754; Texarkana, (870) 773-3382 and Tyler, (903) 592-4301.