Friday, October 17, 2008

Say the right things when electioneering

Updated 10/21/08 -- see below.

Some of you might have heard rumors to the effect of "you can't vote if you're wearing a campaign button." This varies by state, but yes, this is technically true in places, including Minnesota.
From MINN. STAT. § 211B.11(1) (2004): Soliciting prohibited. A person may not provide political badges, political buttons, or other political insignia to be worn at or about the polling place on the day of a primary or election. A political badge, political button, or other political insignia may not be worn at or about the polling place on primary or election day.
Emphasis mine. Unlike many states, this is pretty-clear cut. So if you're wearing a campaign button, shirt or sticker, you may be asked to cover it up, or leave and come back without it or with it covered. After that, theoretically, you should have no problems. If you're persistent in your electioneering, you could be fined or even arrested. It's a misdemeanor, as I understand it (lawyer dad, help me out here?). Bottom line: wear a jacket or sweatshirt over your Obama shirt and pocket your button before heading into your polling place.

Spread the word.

(Post title from "Electioneering" by Radiohead from OK Computer, easily one of my top ten favorite albums. Music here, paired with some crappy skateboarding video that looks like it was shot by an alternate universe Spike Jonze whose career never took off.)

Update! Although the comments seem not to be working for him, my Dad responded with some legal info:
"Lawyer Dad" here. Actually, the statute says a violation is a "petty misdemeanor" (which is supposed to signify something about the penalty that may be imposed rather than describing the legislature's action in criminalizing such trivial conduct). I took a look at the criminal statutes (not my area of expertise) and can't find anything that spells out exactly what the penalty for a "petty misdemeanor" is, but I think it's probably limited to a fine. So you probably won't get thrown in the slammer for wearing an Obama button -- or even a McCain button -- to the polls. But why run the risk of riling up a cranky election judge, who probably takes his/her limited authority much too seriously?

1 comment:

troy said...

well played, beukema! oddly enough i was almost there while listening to the album when i read this post. i declare friday... creepyday!