While local and state law enforcement officials are largely responsible for enforcing election laws, the FBI said it could get involved in many circumstances.
Those include when:
- A ballot includes one or more Federal candidates
- Election or polling place officials abuse their office
- The conduct involves false voter registration
- The crime is motivated by hostility toward protected minority groups
- The activity violates federal campaign finance law
If one of the above criteria is met, the following would be a violation of federal election law:
- Giving false information when registering to vote
- Voting more than once
- Changing ballot markings or otherwise tampering with ballots
- Vote buying
- Threatening voters with physical or financial harm
- Intentionally lying about the time, manner, or place of an election to prevent qualified voters from voting
- Political fundraising by federal employees
- Campaign contributions above legal limits
- Conduit contributions/straw donor schemes
- Contributions from foreign or other prohibited sources
- Use of campaign funds for personal or unauthorized purposes
The FBI said the following do not violate federal law:
- Giving voters rides to the polls or time off to vote
- Offering voters a stamp to mail a ballot
- Making false claims about oneself or another candidate
- Forging or faking nominating petitions
- Campaigning too close to polling places
- Honest mistakes by poll workers
- Lack of immediate election results while ballots are counted
The FBI offered the following advice to voters before heading to the polls:
- Know when, where, and how you will vote.
- Seek out election information from trustworthy sources, verify who produced the content, and consider their intent.
- Report potential election crimes—such as disinformation about the manner, time, or place of voting—to the FBI.
- If appropriate, make use of in-platform tools offered by social media companies for reporting suspicious posts that appear to be spreading false or inconsistent information about voting and elections.
- Research individuals and entities to whom you are making political donations. If something seems suspicious, reconsider the donation.