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Reply #34: Minnesota restricts journalist access to polls [View All]

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SoCalDemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-03-04 12:15 AM
Response to Reply #29
34. Minnesota restricts journalist access to polls
MINNEAPOLIS - A new state law that sharply restricts reporters access to Minnesota polling places is raising fears that it will hinder the news medias efforts to learn whether the voting is being conducted fairly.

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In one of the most restrictive such laws in the country, reporters and photographers must have a letter of permission to get into a polling place, and they cannot stay for more than 15 minutes. The Legislature passed the law last spring.

Some media experts said the intent of the law was to guarantee journalists access to polling places after local elections officials tightened restrictions on their own in recent elections. But it is also a departure from past practice, in which reporters and photographers were routinely allowed inside polling places.

Most states limit access to polling places in some manner, though in many cases statutes specifically prohibit only electioneering, or solicitation of voters.

I dont know of any state that has a law that is this restrictive, said Jane Kirtley, a media ethics and law professor at the University of Minnesota. This idea that you basically cant be there unless you have a permission slip is something that I have not seen anyplace else.

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