Anya Wilcox is reporting for The Legislative Gazette
on Election Day, November 3, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for both the Southern and Northern districts
of New York have created special hotlines for voters to report incidents of voter fraud and voting rights concerns. Polling locations will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, and voter turnout is expected to be higher than in recent elections. Federal law protects against voter intimidation, bribery, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input. Of particular interest, people acting to interrupt or intimidate voters at polling places by questioning or challenging them, or by photographing or videotaping them, under the pretext of uncovering illegal voting, may violate federal voting rights law. Also, federal law protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be helped by a person of their choice, in cases where voters need assistance because of disability or illiteracy. In the northern district, Assistant U.S. Attorneys will be on duty while the polls are open and can be reached by calling 518-431-0289. Voters in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan and Westchester counties are advised to call 646-369-4739. In addition, the FBI will have special agents available to receive allegations of election fraud and other potential abuses on election day, and they can be reached by calling 518-465-7551 or 212-384-1000. In the case of a crime of violence or intimidation, voters are directed to call 911 immediately, before contacting federal authorities. For other voting-related inquiries, such as where to vote, polling location hours, or to register complaints that violate New York State Election Law, voters should contact their local board of elections.