Although Election Day is November 3, the FBI’s work in securing the election begins well before and extends well beyond that date.
In the weeks leading up to Election Day, the FBI has been particularly engaged in extensive preparations. As always, we are working closely with our federal, state and local partners so everyone involved with safe-guarding the election has the information and resources necessary to respond in a timely manner to any violations that may arise.
“Americans can have confidence in our voting system and our election infrastructure. Although it would be extremely difficult for an adversary to meddle with vote count, the FBI remains vigilant in monitoring for threats and protecting voting infrastructure,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “We are actively engaged with our partners and are prepared to investigate any potential election-related threat, whether it is vote fraud, voter suppression, or threats from cyber or foreign influence actors.”
Preparations for the 2020 election take into account the current climate of the country. The FBI has a responsibility to plan for a host of potential scenarios. In each field office, one special agent and one intelligence analyst are designated as highly trained election crimes coordinators (ECCs). Together, the agent and analyst ECCs lead the field office’s efforts to assess allegations of federal election crime, investigate threats, gather intelligence, and serve as the lead points of contact for all federal election-related matters.
State v. Federal Election Responsibilities
While individual states have primary responsibility for conducting fair and free elections, the FBI plays an important role in protecting federal interests. Federal election crimes fall into three broad categories: campaign finance crimes, voter/ballot fraud, and civil rights violations.
The FBI has jurisdiction to investigate election-related crimes when:
- the ballot involves one or more federal candidates;
- the alleged crime involves official misconduct by a polling or election official;
- the alleged activity pertains to fraudulent voter registration;
- non-U.S. citizens vote; and
- interstate facilities are used to violate state elections laws in non-federal elections.
The FBI does not investigate:
- Voter facilitation activities (e.g., giving rides to polling places, offering time off to vote, or providing items of minimal value, like stamps, for absentee ballots);
- Violations of state campaign finance laws—unless a misappropriation of campaign assets occurred through mail, wire, or other fraud covered by a federal statute;
- Distributing inaccurate campaign literature or making false claims about an opponent;
- Campaigning too close to the polls; or
- A candidate trying to convince an opponent to withdraw from a race.
How voters can help
If you suspect federal criminal activity, the FBI asks that you report that information to your local FBI field office. In Oregon, you can call (503) 224-4181 or submit information online at tips.fbi.gov.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FBI may not know the results of the election on November 3. They join state, local, and federal partners in asking the American people to be patient. The FBI is committed to ensuring the security and integrity of elections, and this commitment does not end on Election Day. The FBI encourages everyone to seek election and voting information from reliable sources, including official state and county elections officials.
For three decades, the FBI has served as the primary investigative agency responsible for safeguarding election integrity and allegations of election crimes and election-related civil rights violations. FBI teams of investigators remain vigilant in detecting and investigating anyone who tries to undermine the election process. They have the investigative experience and expertise, and are committed to supporting the election security counterparts and protecting the American people throughout the 2020 election season.
Oregon voters are encouraged to go to www.fbi.gov/elections or the FBI’s social media platforms to find more resources as well as updated information about election security.