United States Attorney Debra W. Yang announced today the appointment o…

United States Attorney Debra W. Yang announced today the appointment of Assistant United States Attorney Cynthia Valenzuela to serve as District Election Officer for the Central District of California. In this capacity AUSA Valenzuela will lead the efforts of her office in connection with the Justice Department’s Election Day Program for the upcoming elections on Tuesday, November 4.

AUSA Valenzuela and federal investigators will be available on November 4 to hear election fraud complaints from voters throughout the Central District, which encompasses the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

The purpose of the Justice Department’s Election Day Program, which the Department has implemented during federal general elections since the late 1960s, is to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by strengthening and enhancing the Department’s efforts to protect voting rights and to prosecute election crime throughout the country.

This is the first time that the Program will be in place for non-federal elections. Establishing this nationwide Program for the November 2003 elections is a further implementation of the Department’s Voting Access and Integrity Initiative, established by Attorney General Ashcroft in October 2002. The goals of this Initiative are to enhance the Department’s ability to deter election fraud and discrimination at the polls and to prosecute these offenses whenever and wherever they occur.

AUSA Valenzuela will supervise the investigation and prosecution of election fraud matters and voting rights abuses in this District. She also will coordinate the District’s efforts with Department of Justice prosecutors in Washington. As part of her responsibilities as District Election Officer, AUSA Valenzuela will supervise a team of Assistant United States Attorneys and Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on November 4, while the polls are open. These individuals will be on duty in this District on election day to receive complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses.

AUSA Valenzuela can be reached by the public by calling: (213) 894-2434.

The FBI also will have Special Agents available in each field office and resident agency in this District to receive allegations of election fraud on election day. The FBI can be reached by the public at: (310) 477-6565.

United States Attorney Debra W. Yang stated that while most types of election crime are easily recognized – such as voter bribery, voter intimidation and ballot forgery – other types are more subtle, such as absentee ballot fraud schemes that target the elderly, the socially disadvantaged or the illiterate for the purpose of subjugating their electoral will. Furthermore, every voter has the right to mark his or her ballot in private, free from the watchful eye of election partisans.

United States Attorney Debra W. Yang said: “The detection of election fraud depends in large part on the watchfulness and cooperation of the American electorate. It is imperative that those who have been asked to participate in questionable election practices, or those who have specific information regarding electoral corruption, make that information available immediately to my Office or to the FBI. The cooperation of this country’s citizens in helping to protect the sanctity of the ballot box is crucial. It is also appreciated.”

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