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Election Monitor Asks Public To Report Any Instances Of Voter Fraud Or Intimidation

A voter is shown in the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office in Kearny Mesa on June 4, 2018.
Megan Wood
A voter is shown in the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office in Kearny Mesa on June 4, 2018.
Election Monitor Asks Public To Report Any Instances Of Voter Fraud Or Intimidation
Election Monitor Asks Public To Report Any Instances Of Voter Fraud Or Intimidation GUEST:Christopher Tenorio, district election officer, San Diego and Imperial counties

Round. The Department of Justice will be working to deter voter fraud and discrimination as people head to the polls today. An ongoing effort. Since 2002 the DOJ J as signs local monitors to investigate claims Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Tenorio will lead the effort here in San Diego and Imperial Counties. Hey PBS is Jade Heineman spoke to him about voting concerns in our area and across the country. Christopher Tenorio thank you so much for joining us. My pleasure. In a tweet on Monday President Trump said in part quote law enforcement has been strongly notified to watch closely for any illegal voting now. Statistics show voter fraud is rare. Do you have any reason to believe otherwise. You know the Department of Justice has been having a Election Day program since 2002 and since that time we've monitored complaints and possible intimidation possible voter fraud in primarily federal elections. There have been very few if any instances of voter fraud. From the point of eligible voters voting some of the things that we do see perhaps more often is intimidation of voters. And that's something also that where you are. We are monitoring as part of this program. Do you know how many instances of intimidation we've had here in San Diego County. You know to my knowledge we have not had any credible reports of that. I've been on duty every couple of years with the exception maybe a couple of election cycles and we have not received anything that we found to after investigation that was credible or something that required further investigation. In general how many complaints of election fraud or voter rights abuses have there been in San Diego County in Sidhu county. We have really received few if any and this is over the course of the last 16 years or so being part of the federal government we kind of see trends nationally and you see some in other parts of the country such as buying votes prior to elections or stealing absentee vote applications. And so understanding those trends would kind of keep an eye open here locally but we've been fortunate that of those more common issues have popped up. Now the issue of voter suppression has been central to many races across the country. Exact Match laws but 50000 voter registration applications on hold in Georgia for example are you aware of any voter suppression issues here in San Diego County on the federal side we haven't received any of those reports to date. It's important to remember however that elections are primarily a function of state law and they will receive a lot of the initial reports of a thing like that we become involved when there's a federal interest. Now that would involve like I said intimidation violations of civil rights especially if there is intimidation based on the traditional senses of whether it be violation whether it's national origin racial or ethnic minority and also anything to corrupt the process of ballot box stuffing perhaps illegal registrations. But the states would receive the first information and to my knowledge we have not received any credible information of that yet. However being aware that it's much more than news this year we are certainly more vigilant I think we have more resources available and you've been appointed as the district election officer in San Diego and Imperial counties what will you be doing in that role. And you previously served right in 2010 2010 2016. You know pretty much every couple of years when there's a federal candidate on the ballot I'll be standing by the foam primarily all day to see if there are any issues that come up every now and then depending on how many people have my phone number they'll call and ask about results which I don't have that kind of information. I'm basically there to be a conduit to law enforcement if it seems like there is something that needs an immediate investigation or perhaps follow up even after election day to see if there was something that was done with fraud involved that would require a longer term investigation. And how do you work with the Registrar of Voters for each county. We stay in contact with them both before and after the election. They're pretty busy so we're pretty much available for them if they need us but we follow up after the election to see if they saw anything that required follow up on our side. So what kind of abuses are you. Are you asking people to report. I think primarily on the day of voting there could be issues of intimidation or voter suppression whether it's intimidation at the polls. If there's any indication that they think their votes are not being counted that's something we could look at at the day. You know there's things can happen before election day such as improper registration or even after the polls are closed such as improper tallying or miscounting or falsifying the vote. But as far as people at the polls if something is interfered with their right to vote and that could even include having someone of your own choice to assist you to vote. We would like to know about that. How are you asking voters to report these abuses if they witness them. You know it depends on the level of abuse intimidation and you know God forbid any violence if there's something that requires an immediate law enforcement response. We'd ask them to call nine one one and that could probably prompt the quickest response. If there's something that you think the FBI might need to know about whether it's a longer or larger issue of of intimidation or fraud they can contact the local FBI at 8 5 8 3 2 0 1 0 0 0. They can also contact the Civil Rights Division at the Department Justice in Washington D.C. at eight hundred to 5 3 3 9 3 1. Or actually they can call me. I'll be on duty as long as polls are open at 6 1 9 5 4 6 8 4 1 3. Now are there any broader federal issues that you all are looking into this election. You know I think where we do have more resources are on the potential issues of cyber hacks into the system. The FBI has a is really on top of it this year because of the you know whether they're valid or or perceived problems on the election they want to make sure that if there are any potentially serious allegations or they're re to investigate right away. So we do have that available. Christopher Tenorio thank you so much for joining us. My pleasure.

The U.S. Department of Justice will be working to deter voter fraud and discrimination as people head to the polls Tuesday.

The department has assigned monitors to investigate claims, which can include voter intimidation, voter suppression, ineligible voters voting and bribing voters. Voters are asked to report anything that prevents them from exercising their right to vote.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Tenorio has led the effort in San Diego and Imperial counties most years since 2002. The national effort is called the Election Day Program.


Tenorio said there have been very few, if any, instances of ineligible voters voting in a federal election since the beginning of the program. He said voter intimidation is a more common complaint.

Voters are asked to report claims to Tenorio on Election Day by calling (619) 546-8413. Claims can also be made to the FBI at (858) 320-1800 or

Complaints may also be made directly to the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, Voting Section in Washington, D.C. at (800) 253-3931 or (202) 307-2767.

Tenorio joins KPBS Midday Edition Tuesday to discuss voting concerns in our area and across the country.

Corrected: October 4, 2023 at 6:59 PM PDT
City News Service contributed to this report.
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