SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – Law News Network – United St…

SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – Law News Network – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced today that Michael Li-Ming Wang, an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of California, will lead the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in connection with the U.S. Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming general elections on November 7, 2006. Assistant U.S. Attorney Wang serves as the District Election Officer for the Northern District of California 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.

“Election fraud and voting rights abuses dilute the worth of votes honestly cast,” United States Attorney Ryan said. “These abuses also 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. 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 right to vote, and to have that vote count, is absolutely central to the existence of freedom,” said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. “As the Supreme Court has characterized it, the right to vote is the ‘preservative of every other right.’ The Department of Justice is committed to both ballot access and ballot integrity and together these ensure that elections reflect the will of the people, which is the foundation of our great Nation.”

On October 8, 2002, the U.S. Justice Department 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 may 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 7, 2006, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, Assistant U.S. Attorney Wang will be on duty in this District while the polls are open. He can be reached by the public at (415) 436-7200 or (415) 436-7072.

The FBI will also have Special Agents available in each field office and resident agency in this District to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses. The FBI can be reached by the public at (415) 553-7400.

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

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