Why are we having issues with free speech again? And in Charlottesville again no less!
A friend of mine sent me this. Basically, the Daily Progress, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., reported that “Voters at polling places who refuse to remove buttons, T-shirts or other apparel with political messages will face possible misdemeanor charges,” per the Virginia Code.
What sort of charges? Try up to a year in prison or a $2,500 fine! But hey, that’s OK, because at least you still get to vote before they haul you away!
Virginia § 24.2-604 states:
A. During the times the polls are open and ballots are being counted, it shall be unlawful for any person (i) to loiter or congregate within 40 feet of any entrance of any polling place; (ii) within such distance to give, tender, or exhibit any ballot, ticket, or other campaign material to any person or to solicit or in any manner attempt to influence any person in casting his vote; or (iii) to hinder or delay a qualified voter in entering or leaving a polling place.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
D. It shall be unlawful for any authorized representative, voter, or any other person in the room to (i) hinder or delay a qualified voter; (ii) give, tender, or exhibit any ballot, ticket, or other campaign material to any person; (iii) solicit or in any manner attempt to influence any person in casting his vote; (iv) hinder or delay any officer of election; or (v) otherwise impede the orderly conduct of the election.
E. The officers of election may require any person who is found by a majority of the officers present to be in violation of this section to remain outside of the prohibited area. Any person violating subsection A or D of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Needless to say (and rightfully so), the Virginia ACLU and a couple of Charlottesville-area groups are stepping in and voicing their disgust for this blatant infringement of free speech.
Didn’t we just (finally) turn over the sign ban at UVA sporting events? Why is this issue resurfacing again?
And aren’t those eligible to vote (18+) mature enough to not be swayed by someone else’s innocuous campaign button or t-shirt while in line? C’mon now, we aren’t that stupid, are we?
I’m curious to see how many people press the issue at the polls this Tuesday…