BEAUMONT, Texas – U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox announced today that he had appointed Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) to lead his office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 3, 2020, General Election. Appointed was AUSA Michelle Englade to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for Texas’s Eastern District. In that capacity, Englade is responsible for overseeing the district’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington. While Englade will operate out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office headquarters in Beaumont, Texas, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX) has also appointed regional officers. They will oversee election integrity issues in other district areas by AUSA Allen Hurst in Tyler, Texas, AUSA Andrew Stover in Plano, Texas, and AUSA Will Tatum in Sherman, Texas. Working together with the FBI and state and local partners, these AUSAs will be collectively responsible for overseeing the district’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.
U.S. Attorney Stephen Cox said, “The right of every citizen to vote is a cherished hallmark of what it means to be an American. Whether it is the fraudulent obtaining of dozens of illegal ballots as has recently been alleged in the northern part of our district or the intimidation of citizens intending to cast their vote, EDTX will act swiftly. They will work in coordination with our law enforcement partners to protect the fairness and integrity of the democratic process.”
The Department of Justice has a vital role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls and combating these violations whenever and wherever they occur. The Department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers these goals. Also, it seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the Department for the public to report possible election fraud and voting rights violations. At the same time, the polls are open on election day.
Federal law protects against such crimes as 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 contains special protections for voters’ rights 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. Further, federal law protects voters’ right to mark their ballot or be assisted by a person of their choice (where voters need assistance because of disability or illiteracy).
The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those entitled to the franchise exercise it and that we bring to justice those who seek to corrupt it. To respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on November 3, 2020, and to ensure the direction of such complaints to the appropriate authorities, citizens can reach out directly with reports of fraud or intimidation. The public can reach AUSA Englade in Beaumont at (409) 839-2538, AUSA Hurst in Tyler, Texas, at (903) 590-1400, AUSA Stover in Plano, Texas, at (972) 509-1201, and AUSA Tatum in Sherman at (903) 868-9454.
The FBI will also 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.