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Text of the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2005

This bill was introduced on November 8, 2005, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Nov 8, 2005 (Introduced).

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Source: GPO

II

109th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1975

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

November 8, 2005

introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration

A BILL

To prohibit deceptive practices in Federal elections.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2005.

2.

Deceptive practices in elections

(a)

Civil action

(1)

In general

Subsection (b) of section 2004 of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. 1971(b)) is amended—

(A)

by striking No person and inserting the following:

(1)

No person

; and

(B)

by inserting at the end the following new paragraph:

(2)

No person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, shall knowingly deceive any other person regarding—

(A)

the time, place, or manner of conducting a general, primary, run-off, or special election for the office of President, Vice President, presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, or Delegate or Commissioner from a territory or possession; or

(B)

the qualifications for or restrictions on voter eligibility for any election described in subparagraph (A).

.

(2)

Private right of action

(A)

In general

Subsection (c) of section 2004 of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. 1971(c)) is amended—

(i)

by striking Whenever any person and inserting the following:

(1)

Whenever any person

; and

(ii)

by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(2)

Any person aggrieved by a violation of subsection (b)(2) may institute a civil action or other proper proceeding for preventive relief, including an application in a United States district court for a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order, or other order.

.

(B)

Conforming amendments

(i)

Subsection (e) of section 2004 of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. 1971(e)) is amended by striking subsection (c) and inserting subsection (c)(1).

(ii)

Subsection (g) of section 2004 of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. 1971(g)) is amended by striking subsection (c) and inserting subsection (c)(1).

(b)

Criminal penalty

Section 594 of title 18, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

by striking Whoever and inserting the following:

(a)

Intimidation

Whoever

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(b)

Deceptive acts

(1)

Prohibition

(A)

In general

It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly deceive another person regarding the time, place, or manner of an election described in subparagraph (B), or the qualifications for or restrictions on voter eligibility for any such election, with the intent to prevent such person from exercising the right to vote in such election.

(B)

Election

An election described in this subparagraph is any general, primary, run-off, or special election for the office of President, Vice President, presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Delegate of the District of Columbia, or Resident Commissioner.

(2)

Penalty

Any person who violates paragraph (1) shall be fined not more than $100,000, imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.

.

(c)

Effective date

The amendments made by this section shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.

3.

Reporting false election information

(a)

In general

Any person may report to the Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, or the designee of such Assistant Attorney General, any act of deception regarding—

(1)

the time, place, or manner of conducting a general, primary, run-off, or special election for Federal office; or

(2)

the qualifications for or restrictions on voter eligibility for any general, primary, run-off, or special election for Federal office.

(b)

Corrective action

(1)

In general

Except as provided in paragraph (2), not later than 48 hours after receiving a report under subsection (a), the Assistant Attorney General shall investigate such report and, if the Assistant Attorney General determines that an act of deception described in subsection (a) occurred, shall—

(A)

undertake all effective measures necessary to provide correct information to voters affected by the deception, and

(B)

refer the matter to the appropriate Federal and State authorities for criminal prosecution.

(2)

Reports within 72 hours of an election

If a report under subsection (a) is received within 72 hours before the election described in such subsection, the Assistant Attorney General shall immediately investigate such report and, if the Assistant Attorney General determines that an act of deception described in subsection (a) occurred, shall immediately undertake all effective measures necessary to provide correct information to voters affected by the deception.

(3)

Regulations

(A)

In general

The Attorney General shall promulgate regulations regarding the methods and means of corrective actions to be taken under paragraphs (1) and (2). Such regulations shall be developed in consultation with the Election Assistance Commission, civil rights organizations, voting rights groups, State election officials, voter protection groups, and other interested community organizations.

(B)

Study

(i)

In general

The Attorney General, in consultation with the Federal Communications Commission and the Election Assistance Commission, shall conduct a study on the feasibility of providing the corrective information under paragraphs (1) and (2) through public service announcements, the emergency alert system, or other forms of public broadcast.

(ii)

Report

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall submit to Congress a report detailing the results of the study conducted under clause (i).

(c)

Reports to Congress

(1)

In general

Not later than 90 days after any primary, general, or run-off election for Federal office, the Attorney General shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report compiling and detailing any allegations of deceptive practices submitted pursuant to subsection (a) and relating to such election.

(2)

Contents

(A)

In general

Each report submitted under paragraph (1) shall include—

(i)

detailed information on specific allegations of deceptive tactics;

(ii)

any corrective actions taken in response to such allegations;

(iii)

the effectiveness of any such corrective actions;

(iv)

any suit instituted under section 2004(b)(2) of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. 1971(b)(2)) in connection with such allegations;

(v)

statistical compilations of how many allegations were made and of what type;

(vi)

the geographic locations of and the populations affected by the alleged deceptive information; and

(vii)

the status of the investigations of such allegations.

(B)

Exception

The Attorney General may withhold any information that the Attorney General determines would unduly interfere with an on-going investigation.

(3)

Report made public

The Attorney General shall make the report required under paragraph (1) publicly available through the Internet and other appropriate means.

(d)

Federal office

For purposes of this section, the term Federal office means the office of President, Vice President, presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, or Delegate or Commissioner from a territory or possession of the United States.

(e)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Attorney General such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.