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Tucson's FBI office offers assurances over federal election crime worries

Tucson's FBI office offers assurances over federal election crime worries

Steven Patterson, assistant special agent in charge in Tucson, says the FBI is “very much actively investigating crimes and we want people to be aware of the appropriate manners and methods to get accurate information about the election.”

With Election Day just weeks away, the FBI in Tucson is ensuring the public that it’s investigating any and all federal election-related crimes.

It’s also calling on the public to help provide tips of what may constitute illegal activities.

While the local bureau declined to provide specifics about whether they’ve seen an uptick in election-related crimes here, Steven Patterson, FBI assistant special agent in charge in Tucson, said during a Wednesday news conference that they’ve seen trends in voter suppression through social media and fraudulent political action committees.

“We want to ensure the public that we are very much actively investigating crimes and we want people to be aware of the appropriate manners and methods to get accurate information about the election,” he said. “That’s really our big concern and big push for information today.”

Patterson said they work with other local, state, and federal officials, who have their own election-related laws. The FBI handles investigations into federal election crimes, including giving false information when registering to vote, voting more than once, tampering with ballots, compensating voters, threatening or intentionally misleading voters and campaign funds embezzlement.

Activities that may violate local election laws but are not federal crimes include giving voters rides to the polls or time off to vote, offering voters a stamp to mail a ballot, making false claims about other candidates, and forging or faking nominating petitions.

Anybody who has evidence of a crime is asked to provide detailed information to the election crimes complaint office in Phoenix by calling 623-466-1999 and asking for the election crimes coordinators. Tips can also be made online at www.fbi.gov.

“Americans have the right to expect fair, open and honest elections. IT’s the cornerstone of our democracy,” Patterson said. “A confident public is more likely to vote, trust the outcome of the elections and know their vote made a difference. The FBI is ready, willing and able to investigate these crimes, but we need the public’s help.”

Contact reporter Justin Sayers at jsayers1@tucson.com or 573-4192. Twitter: @_JustinSayers.

Facebook: JustinSSayers.

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