US Attorney picks Election Day overseer to handle voting issues
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A Department of Justice attorney will oversee Election Day complaints in South Dakota, according to a DOJ release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Hoffman was picked by Alison Ramsdell, the U.S. Attorney for South Dakota, to lead the efforts on Election Day. Hoffman will be responsible for handling complaints of voting rights concerns, threats of violence to election officials or staff, and election fraud.
“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted in a fair and free election,” said U.S. Attorney Ramsdell in the DOJ release. “Similarly, election officials and staff must be able to serve without being subject to unlawful threats of violence.
The DOJ’s release laid out what protections voters have:
“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).”
While polls are open Nov. 8 (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) Hoffman can be reached by the public at 605-357-2364. The FBI will also have special agents in field offices. The South Dakota FBI office can be reached at 605-334-6881.
Complaints about possible violations of 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/.
If, however, there is a crime of violence or intimidation, call 911. According to the DOJ, state and local police have primary jurisdiction over polling places, and in emergencies can get to the scene faster that federal agents
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