What is Election Fraud?
Although election fraud charges can be and are filed in state court on a regular basis, it is also not uncommon for this type of offense to be investigated and prosecuted by the federal government. For this reason, it is important for those who are being investigated by a federal agency for an election fraud-related crime, to retain an attorney who has experience defending against white collar crime charges in federal court.
Types of Election Crimes
Most election-related offenses involve allegations of fraud at some level. However, these are not the only types of crimes that fall under this broad category, which covers not only election fraud, but also:
- Patronage crimes;
- Campaign financing crimes; and
- Civil rights crimes.
The defenses raised by someone accused of one of these crimes will depend heavily on the exact nature of the offense, so it is critical that defendants consult with an attorney who has experience with all four types of crime.
Defining Election Fraud
Federal election fraud charges involve allegations of corruption during one of three events:
- Obtaining and marking ballots;
- Counting and certifying election results; and
- Registering voters.
However, even if a Florida resident is accused of one of these offenses, he or she can only be charged in federal court if federal criminal jurisdiction exists, which only happens when:
- A federal candidate’s name is listed on the ballot;
- The alleged fraudulent activity involved the participation of an election official;
- The crime involved voter registration; or
- The offense involved the misuse of a computer system used in connection with the election process.
Specific federal statutes also give federal prosecutors jurisdiction over offenses that involve allegations of the following activities in federal elections:
- Paying people to register to vote;
- Submitting multiple votes in a federal election
- Impersonating voters;
- Voting in someone else’s stead;
- Intimidating voters through physical or economic intimidation;
- Diluting ballots;
- Rendering false vote counts;
- Preventing voter registration;
- Putting fictitious names on voter registration polls;
- Disseminating false information regarding the date, location, or time of the vote;
- Registering to vote when the person has committed a serious crime or is not a citizen; and
- Giving false information about a voter’s name, address, or period of residence.
Most issues related to the administration of elections are governed by state law, which tend to have less severe penalties than their federal counterparts, so attempting to have a case removed to state court after being charged with a federal crime is critical. This is especially true when a defendant is being charged with a number of election-related offenses in conjunction with election fraud, including campaign financing crimes.
Contact Our Federal Crime Legal Team Today
To learn more about election fraud-related charges under state and federal law, please contact dedicated Miami white collar crime attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorneys by calling 305-670-9919 or by sending us an online message. A member of our legal team is standing by to help you schedule a free case evaluation at your earliest convenience.