November 02, 2004

My Day at the Polls

Just before I left for the polls this morning, my neighbor - if anything, a stauncher Republican than I - phoned. "Have you see those MoveOn people by [our polling station]? They're right across the street!" He was wondering how close they, a partisan 527 group, were allowed to be to the polls. I said I'd check it out.

I went to the polling station. A group of people - including a neighbor I recognized - were running a coffee and donut stand surrounded by MoveOn signs, on the corner directly across from the polling station. I stood at the entrance, and started pacing off the distance to the stand; 63 feet. The law says 100 feet.

I got in line - it took about 40 minutes to get to the front and vote. Then I told the poll watcher what was going on, and stood by as she called in to, presumably, her supervisor. She thanked me, and I left.

As I walked away, I thought "was I being too anal-retentive about this?"

Apparently, I was neither too anal. Nor was I alone; according to a co-worker, he heard on MPR and KSTP-TV that MoveOn stands had been caught too close to polling stations in other parts of the metro (although I've found no confirmation on the web yet...).

I'm willing to chalk it up to being an innocent mistake. So far.

UPDATES: Apparently MoveOn was doing the same thing all over the metro.

And the MoveOn donut stand by my polling place moved. About twenty feet east along the street. I suspect they were 100 feet and three inches from the building.

Posted by Mitch at November 2, 2004 11:52 AM | TrackBack

Maybe the Strib will do an expose? Yeah, right!

Posted by: at November 2, 2004 01:09 PM

Yep, I just posted about this. Basically it's people not knowing or misinterpreting the 100 feet law. (For example, my gf thought it was 100 feet from the entrance, rather than the entire building.) Although from reports i've heard, the police don't all know what the law is, either. (200 feet, 100 yards...)

I don't think your neighbors should have been running a coffee/doughnut stand either, because you don't want to in any way look like you're offering something to people for voting.

Posted by: Chuck Olsen at November 2, 2004 01:40 PM

I had somewhat the same experience at my polling place at the Linwood Rec Center. A woman from MoveOn was across the street from the rec center. I called the Secretary of State's office as well as the state GOP office. When I checked back about an hour later, the MoveOn person had been moved further away from the polling place and, instead of being across the street, was now pushed back up the block further away from the rec center.

Posted by: Larry Grewach at November 2, 2004 01:54 PM

According to what I heard this a.m. on KSTP, you have to be 100 feet from the polling place. If the polling place is on public property, it has to be 100 feet from the edge of the place.

At my polling place, in Stillwater Township, I saw none of this, no MoveOn thugs, or anything like that. I'm of two minds about posting this, I hope it doesn't draw them there. One place they missed.

Posted by: Silver at November 2, 2004 02:12 PM

We had both PAC AND ACT stands at our polling place in North Minneapolis. I would venture to say that they were probably far enough away from the building entrance but they were impossible not to pass close by because they were just outside the big fortress like gates of the property. ACT was giving out stickers and signing people up and Moveon was giving out cookies and coffee, just like at your polling place. All the activists were extremely cheerful.

Posted by: Margaret at November 2, 2004 02:26 PM

I went at lunch to vote at the high rise on terminal and raymond (across the street from the libertarian state headquarters) and the move on table was in the parking lot of the high rise. Don't know if they were 100 hundred feet away or not. Is it 100 ft from the door to get in or from where the voting place is?
Another thought, how does a polling place come to be in a public housing unit?
For what its worth, I was the 281st person to register today out of 1093 votes cast by 1:00 PM. That can't be a good sign.

Posted by: paddy at November 2, 2004 02:27 PM

LGF commenters from the upper Midwest have been talking about this at length today here.

I voted in a town just south of Madison. A half-frozen dude in Birkenstocks was there from MoveOn PAC. I would venture that he was exactly 100 feet from the polling station. Looked miserable.

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at November 2, 2004 03:31 PM

Whoops, html link didn't work. LGF thread:

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at November 2, 2004 03:32 PM

We have one of those Soros whores here at the 3rd precinct in Oakdale at the Mormon Church. Paced him off and he was just 100 feet from entrance door to polls, but still on Mormon/Latter Day Saints property. Single miserable b*stard reading a book and not a wit of attention being paid to this loony.

Go Bush...I want to see moonbat head explosions tonight...hehehehe....

Posted by: Greg at November 2, 2004 05:31 PM

Boy, y'all sure get worked up over those MoveOn "thugs". (Soros whore? That's a new one. Don't be calling my lady a whore, son.)

MoveOn isn't there to campaign for anybody, or even talk to anybody. Their sole purpose in this context is getting out the vote, helping people get there, checking them off at the polls. (Folks who told a canvasser they were going to vote were asked to check in with the MoveOn person.)

And they're extremely cheerful because these intense GOTV efforts are why Kerry is winning MN by a margin big enough to drive your SUV through.

Posted by: Chuck Olsen at November 2, 2004 05:51 PM

Let me vote from the June 2004 publication of the Secretary of State's office, "Minnesota Election Judge Guide."

"People may not gather or linger in the polling place or within 100 feet outside the door to the room. Furthermore, no camapaigning is allowed in the polling place, within 100 feet of the building where the polling place is located or on the public property where the polling place is located. This prohibition on campaigning means that campaign buttons cannot be worn in the polling place and campaign signs cannot be displayed on cars or in yards near polling places."

The guide also references these Minnesota Statutes:

204C.13, subd. 2

Those can be found here:

I'd paste them in here, but I'm late for a party.

Posted by: The PolicyGuy at November 2, 2004 07:41 PM