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Justice Dept. to watch for Alaska election fraud

Alaska will participate in a nationwide program to assure every eligible citizen gets to vote in the statewide elections Tuesday. Assistant U.S. Attorney for Alaska Kelly Cavanaugh has been appointed as the Alaska district's election officer to oversee handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses, in consultation with the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler said.

The Justice Department will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process, Loeffler said.

Federal law protects against such crimes as 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.

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. The federal law protects also the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice.

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