The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Virgin Islands will be out working on and before Election Day to ensure the territory's citizens are able to vote, according to a statement Thursday from U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe.
“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have
that vote counted without it being stolen because of fraud,” Sharpe said. “The
Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election
The U.S. Department of Justice has a role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and combating these violations whenever and wherever they occur, according to the statement, and this long-standing Election Day program is part of that process.
Sharpe also announced that Assistant U.S. Attorney Alphonso Andrews will lead the local office's work in connection with the U.S. Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day program.
Federal law protects against intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input.
It also contains special protections for the rights of voters and provides that they can vote free from acts that intimidate or harass them. 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, according to the statement.
Federal law also protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice. "The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those
who are entitled to the franchise exercise it if they choose, and that those who seek to corrupt it
are brought to justice," Sharpe said.
Andrews will be on duty while the polls are open and problems at the polls can be reported to him at 344-0503.
The FBI will also have special agents available to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on Election Day. The FBI can be reached at 777-3363.
Complaints about ballot access problems or discrimination can be made directly to the
Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington at 1-800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767.
“The effectiveness of our Election Day program depends in large part on the watchfulness and cooperation of the American electorate,” Sharpe said. “It is imperative that those who have specific information about discrimination or election fraud make that information available immediately to my office, the FBI or the Civil Rights Division.”