The U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana has assigned eight prosecutors to be available to deal with any potential federal violation of voting rights on Election Day.
“Two prosecutors will be on call in Indianapolis, New Albany, Terre Haute and Evansville,” Joseph H. Hogsett said during a stop Tuesday in Seymour.
Hogsett said the role of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the general election on Nov. 6 is to ensure people can vote without interference or discrimination and that their vote is counted.
“Federal law protects against such crimes as 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,” Hogsett said.
The Justice Department has a long-standing Election Day program to provide voter protection against intimidation and harassment of voters. Assigning two prosecutors to each of the district’s four offices is designed to enhance that protection, Hogsett said.
The New Albany and Terre Haute offices are generally not staffed full time but will be Election Day.
People also have the right to mark their own ballot or be assisted by a person of their choice, he said.
Hogsett said he doesn’t anticipate any issues, but residents of Jackson County who may have an issue can call the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Election Day at 888-368-5067.
Before doing that, however, Hogsett said the county election board should be contacted.
“They can probably solve the issue much quicker,” he said, “unless it’s a particularly egregious problem or it rises to the level of a federal violation.”
He said it’s hoped this year’s election will come and go as it has in the past — without issues.
“This is a presidential year, there is a contested Senate race and several very competitive House races in Indiana,” Hogsett said.
He said he has assigned Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Vaughn to head the officer’s statewide election protection effort. Vaughn will be responsible for overseeing the district’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights violations while polls are open.
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