Justice Department announce plans for monitoring elections in Northern California

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Kane to be on duty while polls are open Nov. 8

Officials in the U.S. Justice Department in Northern California have announced procedures for looking into any allegations of either voter intimidation or voter fraud that may arise in the Nov. 8 election.

U.S. Attorney Brian Stretch said in San Francisco that he appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Kane to serve as district election officer.

The Northern California federal court district includes the Bay Area and stretches along the coast from Monterey County to the Oregon border.

Kane will oversee the handling of any complaints of election fraud or voting rights violations, in consultation with lawyers at the Justice Department's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

She will be on duty while the polls are open and can be reached by the public at (510) 637-3680.

In addition, the FBI's field office in San Francisco will have agents available to receive allegations of fraud or abuse. They can be reached at their office at (415) 553-7400.

The local efforts are part of the Justice Department's nationwide and longstanding Election Day Program for monitoring presidential elections.

Federal law makes it a crime to intimidate or bribe voters, buy or sell votes, impersonate voters, alter vote tallies, stuff ballot boxes, and mark ballots for others against their will.

Actions that may violate federal voting rights law because they intimidate voters include questioning or challenging voters at polling places or photographing or videotaping them under the pretext that the actions are aimed at uncovering illegal voting.

Federal law also protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice, the Justice Department said.

Complaints about alleged voting rights law violations can be also be submitted directly to the Voting Section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division by phone at 800-253-3931.

The department said in a statement, "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."

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service


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