U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman announced today that Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSA) Ava R. Dustin and Megan R. Miller have been appointed as District Election Officers (DEO) to lead the District’s efforts in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 3, 2020, general election.
AUSA Ava R. Dustin will serve as the District Election Officer for the Western Division of the Northern District of Ohio, and AUSA Megan R. Miller will serve as the District Election Officer for the Eastern Division. AUSAs Dustin and Miller are responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights concerns in consultation with Justice Department headquarters in Washington D.C.
“The right to vote without interference or discrimination is part of the foundation of our democracy, and The Department of Justice will always act appropriately to protect that right and the integrity of the election process,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “Ensuring free and fair elections depends, in large part, on the cooperation of the American electorate. It is imperative that those who have specific information about discrimination or election fraud contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”
In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights concerns during the voting period that ends on November 3, 2020, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, the public may reach the District Election Officers at the following telephone numbers:
- Assistant United States Attorney Ava R. Dustin, 419-241-0767
- Assistant United States Attorney Megan R. Miller, 216-622-3855
In addition, the FBI will have special agents 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 local FBI field office can be reached by the public at 216-522-1400.
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 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 through 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 the public can vote free from acts of intimidation or harassment. 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).
Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C. by phone at 800-253-3931 or by complaint form at https://civilrights.justice.gov/ .
Please note, however, in the case of a crime of violence or intimidation, please call 911 immediately and before contacting federal authorities. State and local police have primary jurisdiction over polling places and almost always have faster reaction capacity in an emergency.