Issues / Promoting Free and Fair Elections

Elected prosecutors have a critical role to play in ensuring fair and free elections and in guarding against interference with the right to vote. They can educate voters on their rights, dispel myths and misinformation, and underscore the integrity of the voting process. Prosecutors should also make clear that intimidation of, and interference with, voters will not be tolerated and that every voter has the right to cast their vote. Public trust is at the heart of public safety, so prosecutors must work to protect the integrity of elections and the legitimacy of election outcomes.

Information and Resources

Promoting Fair and Free Elections – Recommendations for Elected Prosecutor Engagement in Protecting the Right to Vote

Public trust in democracy, the rule of law, and the integrity of our government is integral to public safety. When one system is attacked and fails, it compromises the ability of all systems to function, including the criminal legal system. This resource discusses ways that elected prosecutors can promote voter education and information sharing, debunk myths around the “dangers” of vote-by-mail, and help guard against interference with voting at the polls.

“Our democracy, which for centuries has been the envy of the world, is possible when everyone is free to vote.”
– Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Karl Racine

Elected Prosecutor Guide to Voter Protection Planning

This guide operationalizes the recommendations in the above resource by addressing practical planning steps, key principles that should guide work with law enforcement partners, and questions to consider in guarding against disruptions and interference with voting at the polls.

Promoting Fair and Free Elections List of Resources and Materials

This resource list contains useful resources that can assist elected prosecutors working to promote fair and free elections and protect the rights of all voters. The listed materials offer examples, ideas, promising practices, and key information that can guide elected prosecutors on issues including: enhancing voter information, debunking myths around voter fraud, and addressing concerns with private armed militia.

Early Voting Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides an overview of quick facts surrounding early voting in the United States and links to additional resources. It includes information on the availability of early voting across states, the status of early voting in the 2020 election cycle, and the length of early voting periods across the country.

Speaking Out

Protecting the Integrity of Our Elections: A Message from DAs and Criminal Justice Leaders to America

The right to vote is foundational to our democracy, and we must all work together to protect those rights and preserve fair and free elections. See FJP’s video on this important and timely issue.

“Be heard. Be counted. Make a plan to vote.”

79 Criminal Justice Leaders Call for Protection of Voter Rights as Suppression and Intimidation Tactics Threaten a Fair Election

Current efforts to undermine the voting process – including interference with the Postal Service and the threat of deploying law enforcement officials to police the polls – damage the fragile bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. In this joint statement, 79 elected prosecutors and law enforcement leaders condemn these tactics and call on all leaders around the nation to help combat these disheartening and destructive efforts. Read the release and statement.

“As elected prosecutors and law enforcement officials sworn to uphold the law, we are steadfastly committed to preserving the rights set forth in our Constitution and all of the political freedoms it represents. The American people must be able to safely vote and they must have faith those votes will be counted.”

Local prosecutors are now the last defense against voter suppression and Election Day chaos

As Election Day nears, self-appointed poll watchers are preparing to patrol polling precincts for signs of voter fraud, even though it is exceedingly rare. In this op-ed in MarketWatch, FJP Executive Director Miriam Krinsky explains why these voter intimidation tactics are particularly concerning and how local prosecutors can ensure that everyone in their communities has the right to safely exercise their fundamental right to vote.

“Local elected leaders are needed now more than ever to speak out on behalf of protecting fair and free elections — and on behalf of all in their community who seek to exercise one of the most fundamental rights in our democracy: The right to vote.”

Fair and Just Prosecution Statement in Response to Weakening of DOJ Election Interference Policy

Fair and Just Prosecution Executive Director Miriam Krinsky issued this statement in response to reports that the US Department of Justice has weakened its long-standing prohibition against interfering in elections. Historically, avoiding election interference has been a fundamental overarching principle that guided DOJ policy on the timing of announcements in regard to voting-related crime. DOJ policy has generally barred prosecutors from making any announcement about ongoing investigations, and also from taking public steps before a vote is finalized, because the publicity could tip the balance of a race.

“There is simply no reason to depart from that sensible starting point that has guided federal prosecutors for years. Interference with a fair and free election threatens our democracy and imperils the legitimacy of our entire government.”