Violating the law in the polling place

While Kos indicated yesterday that Diedrich was already conceding defeat, that wasn’t stopping everyone from engaging in illegal activity.

When I voted at about 5:15 p.m., a window adjoining an interior door to my polling place had a sign that said, “Vote for traditional values” with the second “t” in traditional shaped as a large cross. I complained to a precinct worker, who said, “This is a church.” When I said that didn’t matter, another worker went and looked at the sign, returned and said, “It’s not political.” I said, “Excuse me, ma’am, it certainly is.” The sign was then removed but only because I raised the issue. The election workers claimed to not know how the sign got there or how long it had been there.

I contacted the County Auditor’s office to voice a complaint and notified the Herseth campaign in the hopes that whoever did this will be located and appropriately sanctioned. I don’t know how optimistic to be since the woman I spoke to at the auditor’s office seemed to miss the point. She said since the polls had been open since 7 a.m. and I was the first one to complain, the sign must not have been very noticeable. Gee, then, how come I saw it? And who knows how long it was up?

And noticeable has nothing to do with the law. South Dakota’s statutes provide: “Except for sample ballots and materials and supplies necessary for the conduct of the election, no person may, in any polling place or within or on any building in which a polling place is located or within one hundred feet from any entrance leading into a polling place, . . . display campaign posters, signs, or other campaign materials or by any like means solicit any votes for or against any person or political party or position on a question submitted.” Does that sign meet this test? I certainly think it does given the nature of the issues and the way the Herseth-Diedrich campaign was run.

I do not know who put up the sign and certainly am not accusing anyone in particular. I do believe it is totally improper, illegal and unethical. Proof of my reaction came in the voting booth. As any of you who follow or have read this blog know, I was not a Herseth fan and was not going to cast a ballot in the race. The sign, though, pissed me off enough that I voted for her.

6 comments to Violating the law in the polling place

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for flagging this.

    Shennanigans happen in elections. Unfortunately the people who work for the local officials that supervise elections, esp. precinct judges, are–how do you put this delicately?–not society’s best and brightest. Even if they were making a good faith effort to oversee elections, it’s hard for them not to slip into their petty bureaucrat mode.

    A dKos reader

  • Anonymous

    Damned fine work. I admire people who have the guts to take their democratic obligations seriously, although god knows you live in a country where, apparently, most of the people, including those in charge of elections, have no concept of the thing.

    Voting for those most likely to be damaged by illegal actions, even if you don’t directly support them, gets you another bucket of points.

    We who have no vote, thank you.

    Deep Dark

  • Thank you. Every little bit helps, and if that had happened at my polling place, I would have been emphatic as well. These sneaky attempts to influence don’t seem to be much, and often don’t register on people’s radars, but it all needs to be challenged loudly and in the open. No more concessions, no more polite deference. These propagandistic moves will be attacked. Even if the one doing it is hurt and surprised by our venom. (Gee, you aren’t going to lie down and take it anymore? Why are you so angry?)

  • Hey, glad you stood up to Thugdom. Funny how the rules only apply to the Other side.

    If I was in the booth I would have just altered the sign. I would have X-ed out the “Traditional” values, (as represented by Bill “Manslaughter” Janklow) and written in “Vote for the Better Values”…

    R.I.P– Bigotry, Prejudice, Small-mindedness, and Hate.

    God was, after all, in the boat with the Pilgrims. And Freedom is not about disliking “Others”.

    Anyway, what a great victory in South Dakota over the hypocritic Janklows of the world. If we can do it there, we can do it EveryWhere.

    Take back the People’s House. One Democratic seat at a time!

  • Anonymous

    Very nice catch, you may want to also contact Kea Warne on the state level. I’m currently contemplating measuring the distance of signs placed in front of my polling location, at which, a plethora are displayed on the front lawn of the firestation.

    Concerning the election in November, I certainly hope that the DCCC and NRCC have learned their lessons as far as running commercials in the vein of those aired prior to the special election as I’m certain the commercials have swayed a number of voters in the opposite direction of which the commercials were intended to sway voters. The primary, offending commercials were paid for by the NRCC and I know that they certainly pushed me towards voting for Stephanie Herseth.


  • Tim,

    As you know, I respect you enough to solicit your advice on reading material and for me there is no higher form of praise, but you stated:

    “I was not a Herseth fan and was not going to cast a ballot in the race. The sign, though, pissed me off enough that I voted for her.”

    What kind of people did you *think* she was running against? I too am very far from happy with Herseth’s positions on gay marriage and the Patriot Act — and probably many other issues that I don’t even know about — but we are living in times when, if you can’t vote *for* a candidate, you at least have to vote *against* one.

    Although I wish the circumstances were different, I am happy as hell to see that you decided to cast your vote in the House race.

    Hope you do so again in November.

    So-Called Austin Mayor