PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 2008 | THE 411 ON VOTER REGISTRATION AND PASSIVE ELECTIONEERING
With approximately forty day left before this year’s presidential election, here are a couple of quick reminders for those not in the know. Feel free to spread the word and stay informed as disinformation will be our greatest enemy in this election.
Voter Registration Deadline
Don’t get rejected at the polling spot on Tuesday, November 4th. The deadline for voter registration is coming up soon. In many states you are required to be registered up to thirty days prior. Our recommendation is to do it in person at your local election office. As we personally found out in 2004, registering online doesn’t always guarantee registration! Deadlines vary from state to state. To check your last day of eligibility, visit: www.declareyourself.com
Electioneering: Just Vote, Don’t Promote!
There’s been an e-mail circulating recently informing readers that wearing clothing, pins or anything that has the likeness or image of the candidates to the the polling/voting places on November 4th is grounds for being turned away and being denied the right to vote.
According to Snopes.com, "Election laws and regulations in the U.S. typically prohibit the practice of "electioneering" (actively supporting a candidate, political party, or issue) within or near polling places. Such rules have generally been applied to prevent overt electioneering: posting signs or banners; passing out pamphlets, flyers, or other literature; making oral exhortions, etc. Recently, however, movements in some states have sought to have bans on electioneering enforced against "passive electioneering" as well wearing by voters of buttons, pins, t-shirts and other adornments bearing the names of candidates."
The issue is a murky one because state laws may prohibit electioneering without defining the term, and the definition of "electioneering" may vary from place to place when the issue is left up to local election boards to define, as is currently the case in Pennsylvania.
It’s up to voters to be aware of what the regulations are at their local polling places; if you can’t get (or don’t have time to find) a definitive answer about what constitutes electioneering where you vote, you may want to leave apparel (or other decorative items) bearing the names of candidates home on election day, or at least be prepared to remove it if asked. (For example, if you’re going to wear an "Obama" or "McCain" shirt to a polling place, be sure to bring a change of shirt with you just in case.) In general, you should not be denied permission to vote for violating passive electioneering regulations; you should just be asked to leave the polling place and remove the items in question from public view before you re-enter. (Electioneering can be a violation of state law, typically a misdemeanor, so perpetrators run the risk of being detained and/or arrested, but this outcome is unlikely save for cases of flagrant violations.) [ www.snopes.com ]