CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) – The Justice Department is prepared for the November 8 general election this year with their Election Day Program, designed to combat voter fraud and more. West Virginia is just as ready to work with them.

Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Erik S. Goes was chosen to lead the efforts of his office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 8, 2022, general election.

AUSA Goes has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the Southern District of West Virginia. This makes him responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of election day complaints for voting rights concerns, threats of violence to election officials or staff, and election fraud. All of this is handled in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.

United States Attorney Will Thompson commented on the nature of the program.

“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted in a fair and free election. 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.”

United States Attorney Will Thompson

The Department of Justice is responsible for deterring and combatting discrimination and intimidation at the polls, threats of violence directed at election officials and poll workers, and election fraud. The Department addresses these violations wherever they occur. Their longstanding Election Day Program achieves these goals by providing points of contact within the Department for the public to report possible federal election law violations locally.

Federal law protects against crimes like:

  • Threatening violence against election officials or staff
  • Intimidating or bribing voters
  • Buying and selling votes
  • Impersonating voters
  • Altering vote tallies
  • Stuffing ballot boxes
  • Marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input

The election Day Program also contains special protections for the rights of voters, and provides that they can vote free from interference, including intimidation, and other acts designed to prevent or discourage people from voting or voting for the candidate of their choice.

The Voting Rights Act protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice (where voters need assistance because of disability or inability to read or write in English).

“The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy. 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.  In order to respond to complaints of voting rights concerns and election fraud during the upcoming election, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, AUSA Goes will be on duty in this District while the polls are open. He can be reached by the public at (304) 340-2395 or (304) 345-2200.”

United States Attorney Will Thompson

The Southern District of West Virginia also has an online option for reporting complaints: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdwv/report-corruption. The West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office through its Election Division offers a form for filing elections complaints as well: https://sos.wv.gov/elections/Pages/default.aspx.  

In addition, the FBI will have special agents available in each field office and resident agency throughout the country to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on election day. The local FBI field office can be reached by the public at (304) 346-2300.

Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division in Washington, DC by phone at 800-253-3931 or by complaint form at https://civilrights.justice.gov.

“Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the assistance of the American electorate. It is important that those who have specific information about voting rights concerns or election fraud make that information available to the Department of Justice.”

United States Attorney Will Thompson