HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Latest Breaking News (Forum) » Court: OK to block press ...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:23 PM

Court: OK to block press from polling sites

Source: Politico

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that preventing reporters and photographers from entering active polling places is constitutional, saying that a Pennsylvania law to that effect does not violate the First Amendment rights of the press.

The case, PG Publishing Co. v. Aichele, brought by the parent company of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, challenged a state law that said all persons aside from select officials, voters and those giving assistance to voters must remain 10 feet away from a polling place during voting. The Post-Gazette sued after it said its reporters were barred from observing voting sign-in in Allegheny and Beaver Counties, an issue they said was especially important in light of new voter ID laws taking effect that election cycle.

The Post-Gazette argued the media’s right to enter a polling place is protected by the First Amendment and sought a consent decree giving them polling place access. The district court refused, and the circuit court held, 3-0, that the First Amendment does not grant the press access to voting venues – which it ruled are a “nonpublic forum.”

...snip...

The court held that because voting is traditionally considered a secret activity, and because the likely harm of letting the press into a polling place in terms of disruption of voting outweighs the potential public good, under the “experience and logic” test voting places are not considered public forums.




Read more: http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2013/01/court-ok-to-block-press-from-polling-sites-154479.html?hp=r2



So, what will happen in the inevitable appeal?

12 replies, 1504 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Court: OK to block press from polling sites (Original post)
brooklynite Jan 2013 OP
Selatius Jan 2013 #1
Sekhmets Daughter Jan 2013 #3
former9thward Jan 2013 #8
Politicalboi Jan 2013 #2
brooklynite Jan 2013 #4
greiner3 Jan 2013 #5
JimDandy Jan 2013 #6
former9thward Jan 2013 #7
ForgoTheConsequence Jan 2013 #9
geek tragedy Jan 2013 #10
elleng Jan 2013 #11
cstanleytech Jan 2013 #12

Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:30 PM

1. I would hate to see the Supreme Court's decision on this. 5-4 in favor of media block, anyone? nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Selatius (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:35 PM

3. 9-0

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Selatius (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 06:43 PM

8. I doubt the court will even take the case.

But if they do it will be 9-0 against the media. People have a right to privacy in the voting booth and the Supreme Court appreciates that considering they are the ones keeping cameras out of federal courts.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:35 PM

2. So we can steal it a lot easier

Is more like it. I have NEVER been put off from overbearing reporters trying to find out who I voted for. And the vast majority of people don't care who they tell they voted for. Abortions are private too, but that doesn't stop them from being able to mob the clinics and find out who had an abortion. Tradition my ass. Keeping your vote a secret is "tradition", but keeping an abortion secret not so much.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Politicalboi (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:46 PM

4. That's actually not the issue...

Interviewing voters has always been done outside the polling place. This addresses reporting from inside on the voting process (in this case, the interaction between voters and election officials under the new Voter ID rules)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 05:17 PM

5. I've been a poll worker for the last several years.

The polling place has been in the cafeteria/gym of an elementary school.

In 2011 we had half the space, maybe 1,000 ft/sq and the children ate in the other half. This was not as bad as it sounds as the children were great without exception.

2012 comes along and this school closed on Election Day giving us about 2,000 ft/sq.

As you know, 2012's election was a high turnout year and we were certainly not an exception to this.

We actually had 70% turnout and were busy from morning (there were 50 people in line when we opened at 6:30) until an hour before we closed at 7:00.

I am an observer by nature and it was 2 in the afternoon before there was absolutely not one voter in line.

There was NO room for the press to come into the polling location either year.

In 2012 we had 3 registered observers, 2 being Republican.

There was also an unregistered observer, although she mostly remained outside.

A bit about her; she and I did a lot of talking. It seems she is a Federal Civil Rights attorney based out of Chicago and volunteered, along with many other attorneys, just to come to OH.

She went to law school at the Univ. of Chicago back in the 70s.

One of her professors was...

Wait for it;

wait for it;

President Obama.

It was he who convinced her to go into the Civil Rights branch.

She told me several 'stories' about our president and that was a day/person who I will not forget.

But anyway, In OH the distance a person doing any electioneering can be is 100 feet.

I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult it would have been to do my job, much less the voters vote in a timely manner, if there was any large amount of press there.

From what I understand, the press CAN enter a polling place but there are many restrictions they must observe; they cannot interfere with any voter, cannot speak with a voter, unless outside the 100 foot range, and others.

I am not talking of an interviewer but of a cameraman and all that would entail.

The middle school behind the elementary school was also a polling place.

Their area was the entire gym, twice our size, maybe 4,000 ft/sq.

Maybe a cameraman and one interviewer could have attended without too much fuss.

But what if these polling places were designated by the pundits (go Nate!) as the ones that could decide an election.

Then wouldn't several camera crews, local and national, make the trip.

Now that would be a circus.

I think a single reporter does have the right to do his/her job from inside the polling place, without cameras, as long as this does not interfere with the voter and/or poll worker.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to greiner3 (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 06:27 PM

6. Obama was a law professor at the U. of Chicago in the 1990's.

The poll attorney couldn't have had him for a prof in the 70's.



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to greiner3 (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 06:41 PM

7. The "stories" Obama "told her" were just that -- her stories.

Obama was not there in the 70s. An attorney not telling he truth -- imagine that!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 06:47 PM

9. Obama was teaching law in his teens?

He's way more impressive than I thought.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 06:49 PM

10. Fair ruling. I wouldn't want Glenn Beck with cameras inside polling places. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 07:21 PM

11. I worked this/last year as a Voter Advocate, in Virginia,

to assist voters with questions/issues. I was not permitted inside polling place, an elementary school cafeteria (no school that day,) as not registered in VA. There were 2 observers allowed inside, one 'Advocate,' another dunno, so 1 Dem and 1 Repug.

We/they observed issues with IDs etc., voters required to file 'provisional,' and advised voters about the process, how to follow up to have their votes count. My 'inside' guy informed me when 'provisionals' were leaving the room, and I 'caught' them and asked if they understood the process, etc.

Media might have observed as I did, and interviewed voters who filed 'normal' and provisional, but not been permitted inside the polling place. I have no problem with this, but can imaging much confusion at some polling places, with large numbers, if media were permitted inside. My polling place was busy all day, but no lines to speak of.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 07:59 PM

12. I dont believe this is really a major issue.

Why? Because its only a 10 foot requirement and the press can still interview people who entering or leaving the premises.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread