Gem State Roundup

Idaho’s U.S. Attorney directs lawyers around state to oversee handling of election complaints

By: - November 4, 2022 1:56 pm
people lining up to vote

Election officials and poll workers have faced threats and harassment across the country in the years since the 2020 election. (Getty Images)

Idaho’s top federal attorney asks the public to help protect democracy on Election Day by reporting concerns and complaints about voting rights, interference, election fraud or other potential crimes, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office Friday.

U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit said assistant U.S. attorneys around Idaho will join in a long standing, nationwide effort on Election Day by the U.S. Justice Department.

The attorneys will coordinate with the Justice Department’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., as they oversee handling of complaints related to voting rights, election fraud and threats of violence against election officials or staff.

We will be prepared to respond to complaints of voting rights concerns and election fraud during the upcoming election. Our office can be reached at (208) 334-1211.

– Josh Hurwit, U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted in a fair and free election,” Hurwit said in the news release. “Similarly, election officials and staff must be able to serve without being subject to unlawful threats of violence. The Department of Justice will always work tirelessly to protect the integrity of the election process.”

To make a complaint of possible voting rights abuses or election fraud in Idaho, you can:

  • call the U.S. Attorney’s office at (208) 334-1211.
  • call the Salt Lake City FBI field office, which covers Idaho, at (801) 579-1400.
  • contact the Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., at (800) 253-3931.
  • fill out a complaint form at civilrights.justice.gov.

In cases of intimidation or violence, Hurwit advised calling 911 first before contacting federal authorities. State and local police have jurisdiction over polling places and can respond to emergencies.

Federal laws protect voters and election workers from crimes such as:

  • threatening violence against election officials, poll workers or staff
  • intimidating or bribing voters
  • impersonating voters
  • altering vote tallies
  • stuffing ballot boxes
  • marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input

Federal laws such as the Voting Rights Act also protect voters’ rights to cast their ballots free from interference or intimidation, and to mark their own ballot; or, if they need assistance for reasons such as disability or inability to read or write English, they have the right to be assisted by a person of their choice, Hurwit’s office said in the release.

Voters must not be prevented or discouraged from voting or from voting for the candidate of their choice, the release said.

“The right to vote is the cornerstone of American democracy,” Hurwit said in the release. “We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the franchise can exercise it if they choose, and that those who seek to corrupt it are brought to justice.”

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Audrey Dutton
Audrey Dutton

Audrey Dutton, senior investigative reporter, joined the Idaho Capital Sun after 10 years at the Idaho Statesman. Her favorite topics to cover include health care, business, consumer protection issues and white collar crime. Dutton hails from Twin Falls. She attended college at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York City. Before coming home to Idaho, Dutton worked as a journalist in Minnesota, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Dutton's work has earned dozens of state, regional and national awards for investigative reporting, health care and business reporting, data visualization and more.

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