PBS and YouTube are trying a different way of documenting Election Day. They're asking people to "videotape their voting experience." The video below notes that "everyone and their brother" is asking you to videotape news, but it says if you get some really big news -- long lines, irregularities in voting etc. -- then "they'll really be interested."
It's unclear whether it's legal in Minnesota to film the act of voting. The Minnesota statute on the subject doesn't specifically say. But the effort could clash with a theme debated during the Republican National Convention: If you take videos for the purpose to telling a story, are you a journalist?
If so, then the statute spells out some requirements.
A news media representative may enter a polling place during voting hours only to observe the voting process. A media representative must present photo identification to the head election judge upon arrival at the polling place, along with either a recognized media credential or written statement from a local election official attesting to the media representative's credentials. A media representative must not:
(1) approach within six feet of a voter;
(2) converse with a voter while in the polling place;
(3) make a list of persons voting or not voting; or
(4) interfere with the voting process.
I've put a call in to the Minnesota Secretary of State's office for clarification.
Posted at 10:35 AM on October 17, 2008
by Bob Collins
A few stories today that escaped the attention of the Twin Cities media:
North Dakota State University is spending $8,000 just to shuttle students from and house students in 9 area hotels. There's not enough room in the dorms. "I would trade in the hot tub, the pool, the laundry service if I could just have those days where maybe I wake up late and I could still get to class," student Nick Revoir of Hammond, Wisc., said. (Fargo Forum - Registration required)
Dr. Allen Van Beek picked up the Sioux Award in Grand Forks last night. Beek was the doctor at North Memorial in Robbinsdale back in 1992 when North Dakota native John Thompson lost both of his arms in a farm accident. Thompson, now 35, made the trip from Minot, where he is now a real estate agent. "He got me to wear a suit. I hate wearing suits," Thompson said. (Grand Forks Herald - Registration required)
In Park Rapids, Suzie Johnson and Kenny Barr have gotten married on at Deane Point on Fish Hook Lake. That's where they won a fishing tournament last month.
Kenny's boutonniere was a bass plug. Suzie boated in to the ceremony with her "wedding party." (Park Rapids Enterprise)
The second-banana bridge. They blew up the last remaining pieces of the DeSoto bridge in St. Cloud yesterday. (St. Cloud Times)
A play is being read in Winona tonight. It's the tale of Mat Wagner, elected mayor of the city during the Great Depression, and thrown out of office three weeks later. Two days before the election, he hatched a ploy to sell eggs to the children of the unemployed for a penny a dozen. It was declared a violation of election laws. (Winona Daily News)
A national election in Canada this week went virtually unnoticed in the United States. And now a controversy is brewing that also is going unnoticed in the United States: Blogs and social networking sites posted election results before the polls in Western Canada closed.
In Canada, that's illegal. Section 329 of the Canada Elections Act bans the transmission of election results from any electoral district where polls have closed to districts where the polls are still open, according to the CBC.
People in the western part of the U.S., perhaps, can sympathize. Elections are usually over by the time the polls close. The winner has -- usually -- been declared and people don't bother voting. Occasionally there is a call for legislation similar to Canada's.
But the policy in Canada doesn't really work, if the goal is to get people to vote. Only 59% of registered Canadians voted. Part of that is another aspect of the law that opens polling places for only 12 hours.
In an editorial this week, the National Post noted that the system is so byzantine that no newspaper carried a photo of Stephen Harper accepting his re-election victory.
The result was absurd: On the National Post's blogs, posters were forced to censor themselves about riding results that they (and most of their readers) already knew about. The same was true on television. Inevitably, people slipped up: In fact, we observed such slip-ups on all the major networks. In some cases, the spectacle was farcical, with producers desperately trying to bleep out verboten comments while permitting more general analysis.
We confess to having a self-interested motive in opposing Section 329. The people who abide by it (or try to, at least) are established journalists such as ourselves. Meanwhile, on privately run blogs, anything goes. The law thereby ensures that the least responsible outlets attract the greatest number of visitors.
Theoretically, anyone in the U.S. with a Facebook or Twitter account could've provided the clandestine information to their Canadian friends. But what are the odds an American with a Facebook or Twitter account knew about an election in Canada?(3 Comments)