Federal prosecutors will be on the lookout for voter fraud in West Virginia
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for West Virginia is preparing to address any complaints of fraud or intimidation that may arise from next month’s election.
While the office regularly participates in the Justice Department’s national Election Day program, allegations of possible misconduct at the polls have increased in today’s heated political climate.
“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and have that vote counted in a free and fair election,” U.S. Attorney Chris Kavanaugh said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Similarly, election officials and staff must be able to serve free from threats of violence,” he said.
Three assistant U.S. attorneys have been appointed electoral district officers for West Virginia: Lena Busscher in Abingdon, Michael Baudinet in Roanoke, and Ronald M. Huber in Charlottesville.
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Together, they will work in consultation with Justice Department headquarters to address complaints about suffrage issues, threats of violence against election officials or staff, or voter fraud in the Nov. 8 election.
Busscher, Baudinet and Huber will be on duty during the opening of the polls and can be reached at 540-857-2250.
In addition, the FBI will have special agents available in every field office across the country to take calls related to Election Day. The local FBI office can be reached at 804-261-1044.
It is a federal crime to intimidate or bribe voters, buy or sell votes, impersonate voters, alter vote counts, tamper with records, or mark ballots for voters against their will or without their contribution, among others.
However, there have been few prosecutions for election-related offenses in recent years in West Virginia, according to Brian McGinn, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The latest case dates back to 2017, when a James Madison University student was accused of submitting fraudulent registration forms. Worried about not meeting quotas set by a Democrat-affiliated organization he worked for, the 21-year-old admits to filing some claims on behalf of deceased people.
There was no evidence that fraudulent votes were cast as a result of incorrect entries, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported at the time.
The former student was sentenced to 100 days in prison.