28 October 2004 LAWFUEL – Law, legal, law firm, attorney news Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, announced today that Karen Rochlin, an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) in his Office’s Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, will lead his Office’s efforts in furtherance of the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 2, 2004 general elections. AUSA Rochlin has been appointed by Mr. Jiménez to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the Southern District of Florida, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters.
Two years ago, in October of 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft established a Department-wide Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative. The goals of this Initiative are to increase the Department’s ability to deter election fraud and discrimination at the polls and to prosecute these offenses whenever and wherever they occur – to make voting easier and cheating harder. Both goals are equally important. It is imperative that in pursuing voter integrity, ballot access is not in any way diminished or harmed. The Department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers the goals of the Initiative. The Program also is intended to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the Department where the public can report possible election fraud and voting rights violations while the polls are open on election day. The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the franchise exercise it, while those who seek to corrupt it are brought to justice.
In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on November 2, 2004, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, United States Attorney Jiménez stated that AUSA/DEO Rochlin and Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will be on duty in this District while the polls are open to address reports of any federal election crimes. AUSA/DEO Rochlin and the FBI Special Agents can be reached by the public at the following telephone numbers: (305) 957-7322, (305) 957-7323, and (305) 957-7324. Callers in the northern part of the District also may dial (561) 833-7517.
Complaints about ballot access problems or discrimination can be made directly to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington at 1-800-253-3931 or 1-202-307-2767.
Mr. Jiménez said, “Election fraud and voting rights abuses dilute the worth of votes honestly cast and corrupt the essence of our representative form of government. As crimes against both the individual and the government, they will be dealt with promptly and aggressively. The detection of election fraud depends in large part on the watchfulness and cooperation of the public. Anyone who has information suggesting electoral corruption or voting rights abuses should make that information available immediately to my Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”
“The FBI has broad responsibility for the investigation of federal election violations and will work closely with the United States Attorney’s Office and our state and local law enforcement partners to thoroughly investigate all allegations,” said Michael S. Clemens, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation. “The citizens of this District can be certain of the FBI’s commitment to protect both the citizens’ rights to vote and the integrity of the electoral process.”
Mr. Jiménez commended the cooperative efforts of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.