Outrage breaks out as poll watchers violate law.
UPDATE: VIDEO ATTACHED BELOW
March 13, 2012
Having been a staunch defender of the Constitution and our rights and freedoms held within for quite some time now, I felt it was my DUTY and OBLIGATION to participate in “meet me at the polls” in support of my liberty defending candidate. Having planned and researched the laws about campaigning at the polls, I felt well-versed enough to know that I would not be breaking the law while at the polls. I established that there are four key laws in Alabama relating to this specific issue:
- Section 17-9-50Proximity of persons to polling place.Except as electors are admitted to vote and persons to assist them as herein provided, and except for the judge of probate, the sheriff, or his or her deputy, the precinct election officials, and watchers, no person shall be permitted within 30 feet of the door of the building of the polling place.
2. Section 17-17-17
Loitering about polling place; standing in line of voters after having voted.
Any person who loiters in, around, or about a polling place on election day for the purpose of discouraging qualified electors from entering the voting place, or from voting, or whoever having voted enters or stands in a line or file of voters waiting to vote, shall be guilty, upon conviction, of a Class C misdemeanor.
(Act 2006-570, p. 1331, §88.)
3. Section 17-17-33
Obstruction, intimidation, etc., of voting rights of others.
It shall be unlawful for any person to obstruct, intimidate, threaten, or coerce any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or to vote as he or she may choose, or for the purpose of causing such other person to vote for, or not to vote for, any candidate for state or local office or any other proposition at any election. Any person who violates this section shall be guilty, upon conviction, of a Class A misdemeanor.
(Act 2006-570, p. 1331, §88.)
4. Section 17-17-43
Disturbing elector on election day.
Any person who, on election day, disturbs or prevents, or attempts to prevent, any elector from freely casting a ballot shall be guilty, upon conviction, of a Class A misdemeanor.
(Act 2006-570, p. 1331, §88.)
On primary morning, I was scheduled to be at the Oneonta precinct, bright and early, at 6:45 A.M. Luckily, I had been to the precinct the previous day to measure the correct distance from the door. I even allowed an extra five feet just to be safe. Marked by a small piece of tape, 35 feet from the door was plain and clear. So, when I got to the precinct this morning, the only things that I had to do was set up my table and educate the public.
As soon as I got everything set up at the precinct, I was greeted by a poll watcher, which POLITELY, inquired into exactly why I was there. Once I established that I had all of the laws covered, I was welcome to be there and spread the message of freedom and liberty. Oneonta, Alabama was pretty much a great experience.
The trouble began several hours later, when I met a fellow supporter at the Blountsville, Alabama precinct, located at the Blountsville Town Hall. When I arrived, my fellow supporter was just unloading her vehicle and placing signs amongst the long row of signs beside the precinct. Once again, I took my tape measure to begin measuring thirty feet from the door. I was met by a middle-aged male poll watcher by the name of Larry Smith. I was instructed by him that I would not be allowed to measure from the door, rather the corner of the building. Take notice that this would put us some 50-60 feet from the door of the precinct. This was not acceptable to be, due to the fact that my rights were being infringed upon. We asserted our rights, and made it clear that we would not back down on the issue. Larry Smith said exactly the same. I offered to have the authorities come resolve the issue, but I was told to meet with the Precinct Inspector, which affirmed that I was within the law and allowed us to measure the proper distance and set up our table. The Blountsville precinct proved that there was definitely some support, because many people seemed interested and some actually engaged in conversation with us.
After a few hours at the Blountsville precinct, we traveled down the road to the Cleveland, Alabama precinct. In Cleveland, we were greeted by Mayor Jerry Jones with delight. He shook our hands and seemed glad that we were there. He expressed that he might not support who I do, but he would fight for my right to be there to support him.
Upon departing from Cleveland, I returned to Oneonta precinct with just my chair, some signs, and some handouts. I received a message from another supporter that was having issues at the Remlap, Alabama precinct. She was not being allowed to engage voters in conversation or approach them outside the 30 feet mark. I reaffirmed that we were within our rights, and that we were not breaking any Alabama election law. There was no intimidation or obstruction at all. She messaged shortly thereafter alerting me that a female Precinct Inspector named Janet Bailey had been harassing her and had called the police. The police arrived, only to tell Mrs. Bailey that all laws were being adhered to and that the citizen was the proper distance from the door.
Jeremy said, “I have a tape measure, would you like to measure it?” Precinct inspector, Janet Bailey responds, “No, because I know its not [30 feet]. Jeremy returns fire stating, “How do you know it isn’t? I’ve measured it.”
I arrived at the Remlap precinct and sat down where the officer had said was within the law and began engaging voters in conversation. At this moment, I met Mrs. Janet Bailey personally. Once she realized that I was legally campaigning, she stepped outside and asked me who I was talking to. When I responded that I was talking to voters, I was told that I couldn’t speak with or approach voters either. As you can see in the videos, she also harassed us about who we are and who sent us.
Eventually, I was forced to “make a few phone calls” to take care of the situation at hand. I requested a Deputy Sheriff to be dispatched to the precinct to take my report, but to my surprise two deputies, the Chief Deputy William Ferry, and Sheriff Lloyd Arrington arrived at the precinct. With the utmost professionalism and respect, the Sheriff acknowledged that we had been staying within the law, and I was still within the law. He also expressed that although he was not a supporter of Dr. Paul, he would fight for my right to be there to support him. After I agreed, he promptly corrected the issue without further legal consequences. I shook his hand and thanked him for his time.
This goes to show that there are still major issues with our election process. Some poll workers do not comply with the election laws of the state, in which they should have studied. Citizens are being disenfranchised and our rights are being trampled. Thank goodness for a Sheriff that did his job today!