11-01-2004, 10:40 AM #1
Don't take pix of people voting . . .
This might pop up on the news . . .
The reason it's not cool to photograph people voting (I learned this back in the days I was a local election judge--something I encourage y'all to try someday) is that some people use the cameras to intimidate people into not voting.
This is problem mostly in the deep south, where minorities are fearful that "unfriendly groups" might photograph and ID them at the polls, then later retaliate for voting. Here in Texas the law prohibits electioneering or cameras within a 100 foot radius of the voting machines. I've had to throw out local newspaper photographers a time or two, but it always amazes me to see front page close-up photos of people in the process of making their selections.
Standing back a ways and taking a picture of a long line of people waiting to vote is one thing, but taking and publishing the identities of people who voted is quite another. Violates their privacy and frightens away some folks fearful (with good reason) of being made "an example of" by ne'er-do-wells, which are plentiful here in Texas, mostly in the eastern part.
Anyway, now y'all know the rationale for the law, now here's the story:
US journalist punched, arrested by officer outside Florida voting office
MIAMI (AFP) - A sheriff's deputy tackled, punched and arrested a US journalist for taking pictures of people waiting in line to cast early ballots in West Palm Beach, local media reported.
• Deputy tackles, arrests journalist for photographing voters (Palm Beach Post)
A sheriff's spokesman said later the deputy was enforcing a new county rule prohibiting reporters from interviewing or photographing voters lined up outside the polls, the Palm Beach Post said.
The deputy Sunday tried to grab the camera of James Henry, a freelance journalist who has written for The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Henry, 54, ran across the pavement but was tackled by the deputy, who pinned him to the ground, punched him in the back and handcuffed him, according to the daily.
He was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Teresa LePore did not comment on the incident or the new rule, which had not been previously announced. LePore gained notoriety as the creator of the infamous butterfly ballot that confused thousands of voters in the chaotic and controversial 2000 election.
Her counterpart from Leon County, Ion Sancho, expressed outrage at the attempt to restrict reporters and photographers outside polling places, saying it was a constitutional right, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Le Pore's office had not announced the new rule before the incident.
Election monitors say sheriff's deputies themselves broke the law on Sunday by standing right outside polling offices while early voting was going on.
"We are considering filing a lawsuit," said Reggie Mitchell, a civil rights lawyer with the non-partisan Election Protection group that has deployed thousands of electoral monitors to Florida.
He said the law prohibits police from standing in the immediate vicinity of polling stations unless they are voting or called in to handle a disturbance.
Mitchell said deputies challenged Election Protection volunteers who were legally 15 meters (50 feet) away from the voting place.
Close to 20 percent of the 10 million voters in Florida already voted ahead of Tuesday's elections, either by absentee ballot or in early voting that started on October 18.
11-01-2004, 11:05 AM #2
Bottom line is if a Police officer or Sheriff Deputy, tells you to quit doing something, you either do it, or risk a wood shampoo.
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