Federal offices in Kansas gear up for election day to deter fraud, violence

FILE(Valeria Fugate)
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 2:24 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Federal offices in the Sunflower State are gearing up for election day in an attempt to deter election fraud and violence.

United States Attorney for the District of Kansas Duston Slinkard announced on Tuesday, Oct. 18, that Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Maag will lead efforts in his office to connect with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the Nov. 8 general election.

Slinkard said that Maag has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office - District of Kansas and will be responsible for overseeing election day complaints of voting concerns, threats of violence to election officials or staff and election fraud. This will all be done in consultation with the Justice Department Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted in a fair and free election,” Slinkard said. “Similarly, election officials and staff must be able to serve without being subject to unlawful threats of violence. The Department of Justice will always work tirelessly to protect the integrity of the election process.”

Slinkard’s Office indicated that the Department of Justice’s role to deter and combat discrimination and intimidation at the polls, threats of violence directed at election officials and poll workers and election fraud is an important one. It will address violations wherever they happen.

The Office also said that the Department’s longstanding Election Day Program furthers these goals and aims to ensure public confidence in the electoral process with local points of contact.

Federal law protects against crimes such as threats of violence against election officials or staff, intimidation or bribery of voters, buying or selling votes, impersonation of voters, alteration of vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their consent. It also protects the rights of voters and provides they can vote free from interference to discourage those from voting or voting for a certain candidate.

The Voting Rights Act also protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be aided by a person of their choice when assistance is needed due to a disability or inability to read or write in English.

“The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy,” Slinkard noted. “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, AUSA/DEO Maag will be on duty in this District while the polls are open. He can be reached by the public at the following telephone number: 785-295-2850.”

In addition, Slinkard said the Federal Bureau of Investigation will have special agents available in field offices and resident agencies to handle allegations of election fraud or other abuses on election day. The local FBI field office can be reached at 816-512-8200.

Complaints of possible violations of the federal voting rights law can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division in D.C. via phone at 800-253-3931.

“Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the assistance of the American electorate,” Slinkard concluded. “It is important that those who have specific information about voting rights concerns or election fraud make that information available to the Department of Justice.”

In the case of a crime of violence or intimidation, 911 should be called immediately before federal authorities are contacted. State and local police have jurisdiction over polling places and almost always have a faster capacity to respond in an emergency.