BocaNewsNow.com reported Tuesday that “a woman attempting to vote in West Boca Raton this morning was initially prohibited from entering the polling place because she was wearing a tee shirt with the letters MIT.”
“Campaigning is not permitted within several yards of a polling place,” BocaNewsNow.com reported further.
Once the unidentified Florida election supervisor realized that “MIT” is the acronym for “Massachusetts Institute of Technology” — and not a campaign shirt advertising support for Republican candidate Mitt Romney – BocaNewsNow.com reported that several sources confirmed that the woman was “ultimately allowed to vote.”
But there’s still a problem.
While the Florida Division of Elections website confirms that — as set forth in Florida Statute 102.031(4) — “one cannot solicit voters within 100 foot of the entrance to any polling place” — it is an “election myth” that Florida election law states that “voters will be turned away if they are wearing campaign apparel.”
FACT: “Voters may wear campaign buttons, shirts, hats, or any other campaign items when they enter the polling place to vote; voters may not otherwise campaign there.” (From the Polling Place Procedures Manual incorporated within Rule 1S-2.034, Florida Administrative Code)
So, merely going to the polls wearing campaign paraphernalia is OK.
According to the “Guidelines for Poll Workers,” as outlined on the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections website, poll workers “must attend a mandatory orientation session prior to working at the polls.”
Florida Law (FS. 102.012(2)) also “requires all Poll Workers to attend mandatory training workshops prior to working.”
At this point, it is difficult to determine which aspect of this situation is more unsettling: That a Florida voter – for no legitimate reason — was almost denied her right to cast her vote, or that an individual so ignorant of Florida election law was placed in a position to serve as an official election supervisor.
BocaNewsNow.com reported further that “several calls” placed “to Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher for confirmation or comment” went “unanswered as of Tuesday afternoon.”
After a lengthy time on hold around 5:30 p.m., efforts by rootshed.com reached “Megan,” who – after saying she was “not allowed to speak to reporters” – took a message for “Susan.”
“Susan” has yet to contact rootshed.com for comment.
However, rootshed.com can confirm that callers who contact the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections office will be informed by a recorded message — as they wait for an answer to their questions — to “please be assured that your call will receive the time and attention it deserves.”