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US Attorney Appoints Utah Elections Officer

FILE (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Assistant United States Attorney Aaron Clark has been appointed by U.S. Attorney John W. Huber to be Utah’s elections officer, in conjunction with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day program.

Officials said Clark “will coordinate with election officials in Utah and at the Department of Justice to ensure that all qualified voters in Utah have the opportunity to cast their ballots and have their votes counted free of discrimination, intimidation or fraud in the election process.”

“Although Utah has a history of conducting problem-free elections, we want to make sure residents of Utah know that reports of fraud or abuse will be taken seriously,” Huber said Tuesday. “Election fraud and voting rights abuses dilute the worth of votes honestly cast. They also corrupt the essence of our representative form of government. Whether a Utah voter is mailing in a ballot or voting in person, anyone who has specific information about election fraud or discrimination should pass that information on to my office or to the FBI.”

Running and administrating elections is primarily a state function, not a federal one. Officials said Utahns should call 911 before contacting federal authorities in case of voter intimidation or violence because state and local police have jurisdiction over polling locations and can provide a quicker response.

Federal law protects against 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 has special provisions so voters can cast their ballots free from harassment or acts of intimidation.

“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,” officials said.

Concerns about election fraud or voting rights abuses in Utah should be referred to Clark at 801-325-1405, and the FBI will have extra agents available to receive allegations of election fraud or abuse. The Utah FBI office can be reached at 801-579-1400.

“Voting rights are core to who we are as Americans, and we expect free and fair elections. It is imperative that those who have specific information about discrimination or election fraud make that information available to my office, the FBI or the Civil Rights Division,” Huber said.

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