Wednesday, November 7, 2012

More on voting in churches

To follow up on my last post, here's a well-written article on why we should stop using churches as polling places, from the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "Although federal law prohibits churches from endorsing or opposing candidates, they have the right to speak out on ballot referenda and on other issues, from abortion to zoning. All of this church-based political activity makes me uneasy about casting ballots in houses of worship, especially those festooned with political signs."

Case in point: This church, which chose to leave up a huge anti-abortion display although (or perhaps because) it was being used as a polling place. The election coordinator had been told they'd take it down, but the church decided to leave it up instead. Technically it did not break the law, but some voters unsurprisingly found it "offensive." The election coordinator said, "We feel badly that we didn't realize that this wasn't going to be taken down this weekend, otherwise I would have tried to make other accommodations... After you advertise a polling place, it's very difficult to change."

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