Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Are Massachusetts campaign workers breaking the law? 150 Feet

Are Massachusetts campaign workers breaking the law?

Activities in the Polling Location
On Election Day, certain activities are prohibited within the polling location and within 150 feet of the polling place. General Law chapter 54, section 65 prohibits within 150 feet of a polling location, among other things, the posting, exhibition, circulation, or distribution of material--including pasters, stickers, posters, cards, handbills, placards, pictures or circulars--intended to influence the action of the voter. G. L. 54, § 65 (2002 ed.). Consistent with the activities restricted by statute, the implementing regulations prohibit the solicitation of votes for or against, or any other form of promotion or opposition of, any person or political party or position on a ballot question, to be voted on at the current election. 950 C.M.R. § 54.04(22)(d). Accordingly, a person standing within 150 feet of a polling location, including observers in the polling location, may not: hold any campaign sign; hand any person literature intended to influence the voter’s action at the polls; wear any campaign buttons or identifying signage; solicit a person’s vote for or against a candidate or question on the ballot; or, distribute stickers. Circulators of nomination papers, initiative and referenda petitions are also restricted from soliciting signatures within 150 feet of a building entrance door to a polling place. G. L. c. 54, § 65 (2002 ed.). This is true even where the nomination papers, initiative petition or referendum have nothing to do with the current election.

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