Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

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A look at election crimes that can lead to federal charges

Most people have heard of voter fraud and election fraud.  While most people can't name the specific laws applicable to elections, or know where they might be found in the criminal code, just about everyone knows that misrepresentation at the voting booth or during the course of a campaign can lead to some serious charges. Did you know that there are other actions that could also be considered election crimes? If not, then you may want to continue reading today's post because we describe a number of things that the Federal Bureau of Investigation considers criminal activities that may lead to serious federal charges and litigation as well.

Threatening someone to cast their vote a certain way

Even if you may mean for it to sound like a joke, threatening someone into voting a certain way could lead to criminal charges. That's because it is considered a civil rights violation that threatens the integrity of our democracy.

Giving more than $4,600 to a federal candidate

Many people are glad to help out the campaign fund of someone they'd like to see in office. But did you know that it's against federal law for an individual to give someone more than $4,600? If you didn't, you might not be alone. This may be one of many federal laws that people across Georgia and elsewhere may not know about. Nonetheless, it can still lead to serious litigation.

Receiving something of value for voting

When we're young, our parents often "bribed" us with stuff to get us to do things like clean our rooms or help out with household chores. But while this type of bribery is considered harmless, the same is not true for adults and voting. This is also considered voter fraud and can lead to serious legal consequences.

Promising to pay someone back for making a campaign donation

While it may seem innocuous to have a friend make a donation for you with the promise of paying them back later, such an action could lead to federal charges. That's because this is considered a campaign finance crime, punishable under federal law.

If you were surprised by some of these laws, you're not alone. Know now though that you could face prosecution down the road, which is why you should also know that you have the right to legal representation as well.

Source: The Federal Bureau of Investigation, "Election Crimes and the FBI," Accessed April 28, 2015

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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