November 4, 2016

Voters won't be intimidated by cameras on Election Day

AUGUSTA — Maine Senator and former Secretary of State Bill Diamond, D-Windham, is reminding voters that they can go to the polls this year free from fear of intimidation by activists with video cameras.

“Two years ago, voters all over the state reported harassing, intimidating activity at polling places by so-called activists and poll observers with video cameras,” said Sen. Diamond. “This year, they can rest easy knowing it won’t happen again. All of us have a right to participate in the electoral process without people getting in our way or shoving cameras in our faces as we make our way to and from the ballot box or consider citizen initiative petitions.”

Sen. Diamond authored a law, signed by Gov. Paul LePage in April, that established a 15-foot “minimum distance” between people video recording activity on Election Day and the people they would record. This compromise measure protects the camera operator’s First Amendment rights while also ensuring safety, security and a harassment-free environment at the polls.

The law earned the backing of Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, who oversees Maine’s elections.
“Voting is the cornerstone of our Democracy, and whenever it is jeopardized we must act swiftly to protect voters’ rights,” said Sen. Diamond. “I hope everyone makes it to the polls to make their voices heard.”

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