Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Election Behavior Quiz Answers
1) If someone comes into the polls wearing a "Hillary" or "Trump" T-shirt, should he be asked to leave and wear more neutral clothing? - No. A voter with clothing or buttons supporting a candidate or political party is exercising his First Amendment rights. According to a 2008 memo from the Department of State, this is not illegal "electioneering" unless the voter begins to exhort others. Poll watchers who wear political clothing or pins can be asked to leave.
2) Are reporters allowed inside the polls? - No. The only persons allowed inside are voters (no more than 10 at a time), persons assisting voters, elections workers, a constable or deputy constable, overseers appointed by a County judge and appointed poll watchers (no more than two at a time).
3) Is there any problem with a person talking on his cell phone while waiting to vote, or snapping pictures around him? - No, but wait until you've left the polling place before you post anything online. Though you will see signs telling you that cameras and cell phones are prohibited, there really is no law banning their use. The Department of State "recommends that counties adopt common sense rules that take into account the need for order in the polling place and the right of citizens to vote unimpeded." The Pa. Constitution (Pa. Const. Art. VII, § 4) guarantees the right to vote in secret. So the chief concern is that Voter A does not photograph Voter B as he casts his ballot. That's a No No. How about a selfie? The Department of State asks you to wait until you leave before posting a selfie online.
5) What about those annoying people who rush over to you the second you get out of your car? Shouldn't they take a hike? - They have as much right to be there as you do to vote. This is core political speech, and so long as it occurs 10' or more away from the polling place, it is protected speech.
6) If my father or mother is unable to see, can I go into the voting booth with him and help him vote? - One of the most moving sights I see at an election is an older voter, on a walker, who struggles to make his way to the voting booth. He is usually wearing a tie and dress shirt, and though every steps he takes is painful, he will cast his vote. These are real Americans. But according to NPR, we do a terrible job of accommodating voters with disabilities. Only one out of every four polling places is completely accessible to persons with disabilities. The electronic voting machine is equipped to enable a person who is blind to vote, but it takes forever. Most people with a disability bring a family member, who is permitted into the voting booth so long as a Request for Assistance is completed. Other elections workers may assist a voter, but not the judge of elections.
7) If you are a convicted felon, do you have the right to vote? - Yes. So long as you have served your sentence, you can vote, even if released on probation or parole. If convicted of an elections offense, you lose the right to vote for four years.
8) In line with what is and is not allowed at polls maybe someone out there can answer my question. Is Pennsylvania an open carry state? Can you buy a handgun and carry it on your hip in the open without getting a concealed weapons permit? - Although Pa. is an open carry state and firearms are permitted at the polls, most people drive to the polls. Unless you are going to the gun range, if you strap a six-shooter to your side and lack a concealed carry permit, you are asking for trouble. Felony trouble. If you vote at a school, don't even think about bringing a gun.