Oct 30, 2008

Please Everyone...Do What You Can To Get Out The Vote!

From NBC's Rehema Ellis
{originally posted here}

A few weeks ago a couple of friends sent me e-mails asking: Is it true that a voter could be turned away from the polls for wearing a campaign T-shirts or buttons?

My initial reaction was, this is just silly stuff.

Then, I got to thinking, maybe what you wear could be interpreted as campaigning for a particular candidate and could cause a voter problems on election day. I know from covering past elections, anything that could be misconstrued as electioneering is not allowed in the polling places.

So, just to answer my friends' concerns, I did some checking and found out, it is true. In certain states you can be turned away from the polls if you're wearing something that shows support for a particular candidate or a ballot issue.

And as fate would have it, I was assigned to do stories on how to be best prepared to make your vote count.

What I found out was somewhat disappointing, albeit, not surprising. There's lots of bad information, dumb rumors, and outright deceptive material going around to mess up the voting process.

Video: Rehema Ellis reports on debunking the myths that threaten to keep some people away from the polls.

What's worse, some of the underhanded tactics to scare or intimidate voters will probably work to disenfranchise some people especially first time voters, minorities or the elderly.

That ought to make all the rest of us mad. Mad enough to make sure we share what we know about the process with our friends. Mad enough to talk to folks who may be first time voters and make sure they've got all their information together. Mad enough to help a senior citizen to the polls. Mad enough to make certain the people who would try to mess up this election don't succeed.

As a nation, America regularly answers the call from developing countries asking us to monitor their elections to make certain this democratic process of voting is fair and above reproach.

The least we can do for ourselves is --politics aside if you can-- help someone else exercise a right that many people all over the world wish they had.

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