CHARLESTON -- U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin is asking voters to contact the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia if they have complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses in connection with the upcoming general elections.

In a press releaes, Goodwin said his office will be working in cooperation with Justice Department to handle reports of election abuses.

“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and have that vote counted without it being stolen because of fraud," Goodwin said. "The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process.”

The Department of Justice works to deter election fraud and discrimination at the polls and to combat these violations whenever and wherever they occur. 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. It also contains special protections for the rights of voters and provides that they can vote free from acts that intimidate or harass them.

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.

"The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy," Goodwin said. "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."

To respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on Nov. 6 and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, Goodwin invited the public to contact his office at the following telephone numbers: 1-800-659-8726 or 304-345-2200.

Complaints about ballot access problems or discrimination can also be made directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington, D.C., at 1-800-253-3931 or (202) 307-2767.

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