Confusing Voter Registration Laws Could Affect Presidential Election

United States
September 26, 2008 7:13am CST
I came across this article on yahoo news at: http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnews/20080925/ts_usnews/confusingvoterregistrationlawscouldaffectpresidentialelection There seems to be a bunch of laws that many are un-aware of. This one, I'm not sure how true this is, but from what I heard, when you go to the polls to vote, you need to be careful of what you're wearing. An example is that if you're wearing a button or something else saying "Vote McCain" or "Vote Obama" or something else showing support for even a local candidate that is up for election or re-election, you're likely going to be turned away with the election personnel telling you to change or get rid of those things & then come back. I don't know how true it is, but there is usually a sign near the poll places (In my area it is usually set up in the gymnasium of a public school.), but there are signs all over mentioning that electioneering is against the law within - perhaps 100 feet - of that area. I have heard that if you're wearing that pin supporting the candidate(s) that you intend to vote for, you can get arrested & maybe fined or something. It is not supposed to matter which candidate you're voting for or supporting. Anyway, can anyone verify or deny the above? Also, are there any other laws for the average voter that needs to be made aware of?
2 people like this
4 responses
@PrarieStyle (2488)
• United States
17 Oct 08
I have never heard of this. I don't know if people should be arrested. I can see taking their button until they come out or turning them away. I'm half tempted to try it to see what would happen.
2 people like this
• United States
17 Oct 08
It probably varies from place to place. Some might turn away voters, or might just ask them to remove their pins until they're done & gone. I don't think they'd actually arrest someone for that. However, I have heard that at a place called Short Island, if they catch a woman, they send seven guys armed with wet noodles to take care of that situation. If a guy does it, they send seven women armed with wet noodles to knocker him out before he can ever get near a voting booth.
2 people like this
• United States
17 Oct 08
Crap, I was going to take the short bus to Short Island wearing my 5 Ralph Nader buttons but now I'm too scared to. The last thing I need is 5 men chasing me down with wet noodles. I have a wet noodle phobia.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Oct 08
Uh - which short bus? The pink one with purple poko-dots that's sitting in your driveway? Or the red with black poko-dots that's in my driveway? What I mean is, who's driving? I wonder what they'd say & do if I wore my Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, & Ronald Reagan buttons ... I'm also wondering about the look on your face as you read this.
1 person likes this
@ycanteye (777)
• United States
26 Sep 08
To the best of my knowledge they only make you remove the button and put it in your pocket or out of site. The law has been in effect for quite sometime as far as I know. Both parties give handouts with their names on them but you have to put them in your pocket or out of site when you go in to vote. Why is the law so confusing? I didn't read the article but from what you said I don't see anything confusing. Just don't wear anything political, including clothing, to the polls.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Sep 08
I have not experienced this myself, but when I started my junior year at a university - complete with dormitories & students that came from all parts of the United States, & even all over the world. The non-residents who were American citizens - in other words - students from out of state - permanent addresses that were from other parts of the United States, who were also first-time voters were completely confused. Luckily, there was this older Air Force student majoring in aeronautical engineering who resided in the dorm that was in the air force familiar with the voting process that was very helpful to a lot of these people. I believe it was something like they were able to elect the President, but not the local officials who were up for election or re-election. The one thing I remember was that if anyone had any questions or problems, he stood out, because he always wore his AF uniform on the campus.
2 people like this
@ycanteye (777)
• United States
26 Sep 08
That makes sense since they weren't actually residence of that particular city.
2 people like this
@ElicBxn (61088)
• United States
26 Sep 08
I worked an election once and we were told that if they were wearing a pin, to ask them to remove it, and if they were wearing a shirt, to at the least, turn it inside out, put something over it or go and change. Only if they refused to leave would the athorities be called to remove them. Now, I know that some people pulled up to vote that election that had bumper stickers on their cars inside the limit, but since they were not leaving them there the whole day, we didn't say anything about it. If they had tried to do that we would've had to. For example, our car did have stickers, but we were parked outside the limit.
2 people like this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
26 Sep 08
Hello KrazyKlingon, What a great discussion topic! Since there are two distinct issues here, I'll address them separately. First, I have been an election polling judge for years. So, I've had to be 'the bad guy' who has to ask someone to conceal their political buttons, t-shirts, hats, brochures, signs, etc... Geesh, people get really angry about it, even though polling judges and poll workers are just doing the job that they have been entrusted to do. Here is the statute from my state: "1-20-16. Electioneering too close to the polling place. Electioneering too close to the polling place consists of any form of campaigning on election day within one hundred feet of the building in which the polling place is located, and includes the display of signs or distribution of campaign literature. Whoever commits electioneering too close to the polling place is guilty of a petty misdemeanor." Every state has some variation of this law. The most notable variations relate to the distance. Many states designate 100'. Others designate 50' or 30'. The point behind the law is to provide a unencumbered environment, where a voter can vote in peace without being inundated with campaign election materials. As for college students voting: I did not find it burdensome to vote 'absentee' when I was in college and university. I support the position that college students "reside" at their legal residence, and not at a dormitory. As I see it, the student should be required to vote in the district that coincides with their legal address, as it is registered with the Registrar or Bursar. The reason for my strong support of this is too prevent election fraud. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard of college students voting 'on-campus', then driving a two or three hour drive to then vote at their home polling district, as well. There is virtually no cross-checking between counties within most states, so there is simply too much wiggle room for voter fraud. Every other citizen is subject to precinct designation based on 'legal address'. So, why should it be any different for college students?
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Sep 08
I don't remember if this was the 2000 or 2004 Presidential election, but I heard that on the news that it was happening, & the lack of cross-checking allowed people to get away with that double vote. It was not just college students, but also, those who voted with an absentee ballot in their actual place of residence, & at the place they were working at. Hopefully, in this election, being that it made news, & that the exposure will have more safeguards against it, people will be more likely not to try to pull this, especially with the gas prices.
2 people like this