Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Gist has been appointed to the federal election officer for Wyoming to oversee complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses on Nov. 6, the day of the general election, Wyoming U.S. Attorney Mark Klaassen said Tuesday in a news release.

"The right to vote is a cornerstone of American democracy, and every citizen who chooses to do so must be able to exercise that right without interference or discrimination," Klaassen said. "The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process."

The Department’s long-standing Election Day Program deters election fraud and discrimination at the polls, addresses violations, and seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process.

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.

The law contains special protections for the rights of voters to mark their own ballots or be assisted by a person of their choice because of disability or illiteracy, and provides they can vote free from intimidating or harassing acts.

Such acts include interrupting or intimidating 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.

Gist will be on duty while the polls are open to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses, and to direct complaints to the appropriate authorities. He can be contacted at (307) 332-8195 or (307) 772-2124.

The FBI also will have special agents in each field office and resident agency to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses. The FBI field office can be reached at (303) 630-6916 or (307) 632-6224.

People also can file complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws with the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., at (800) 253-3931 or (202) 307-2767, by fax at (202) 307-3961, by email to voting.section@usdoj.gov, or online.

“Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the cooperation of fellow citizens,” Klaassen said. “It is imperative that those who have any specific information about discrimination or election fraud make that information available immediately to my Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division so that we can take appropriate action.”