Prosecutor tapped to oversee election complaints

Lawrence Keefe, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Florida, has tapped one of his deputies to oversee complaints related to the Nov. 3 presidential election, his office announced Wednesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Grogan will serve as “district election officer” and oversee the handling of election-fraud complaints and voting-rights concerns, Keefe said in a news release.

“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted without it being stolen because of fraud,” he said, adding that the U.S. Department of Justice “will always act appropriately to protect the integrity of the election process.”

Wednesday’s announcement came as more than a quarter of the state’s registered voters had already cast ballots, including nearly 3 million Floridians who voted by mail.

Elections experts have warned of “disinformation” campaigns aimed at keeping people from voting or casting doubt on the outcome of the race between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Recent polls show the two candidates are neck-and-neck in Florida, a battleground state.

The Department of Justice “has an important role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls” and “combatting these violations whenever and wherever they occur,” Wednesday’s announcement said.

The agency’s “long-standing” Election Day Program also seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing “local points of contact” for the public to report possible election violations, the release said. In addition to Grogan, the FBI will have special agents available throughout the state.

“The right to vote is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the right to vote exercise it if they choose,” Wednesday’s release said.