Federal law enforcement officials are gearing up again for action against possible voting irregularities in the Nov. 6 election, assigning prosecutors and FBI agents here and throughout the country to handle complaints of election fraud and other federal violations.
As was done during elections in 1980 and 1982, at least one assistant U.S. Attorney and one FBI agent from each of the nation's 93 federal court districts have been assigned to field telephone complaints on Election Day.
In a joint statement yesterday, Maryland U.S. Attorney J. Frederick Motz and Baltimore FBI special-agent-in-charge Dana E. Caro urged citizens to report any irregularities they observe at or near the polls. Examples they said, include ballot-box stuffing, destruction of ballots, falsifying tally reports and intimidating voters.
Some forms of fraud are more subtle, they said, such as efforts by campaign workers to seek out "the elderly, the socially disadvantaged or the illiterate for the purpose of subjugating their electoral will."
Assistant U.S. Attorney James B. Moorhead, who is assigned to handle complaints in Maryland, said federal law bar efforts, for example, to influence a vote "by offers of liquor, money or food stamps."
A Justice Department spokesman said citizen complaints to prosecutors and FBI agents nationwide in the past two years have resulted in 175 major election fraud investigations, 150 indictments and the conviction of 135 persons. Figures for the Washington area were not immediately available.
To report election irregularities, the following telephone numbers may be called:
* In the District of Columbia, 633-5000 or 633-5775 (U.S. Attorney's office) or 252-7320 (FBI).
* In Maryland, (301) 539-2940 (U.S. Attorney's office in Baltimore) or (301) 265-8080 (FBI in Baltimore).
* In Northern Virginia, 557-9100 (U.S. Attorney's office in Alexandria) or 683-2680 (FBI in Alexandria).