Campaign workers can't use poll site water fountains, restrooms

Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 2:50pm

Every election, friends, family and supporters of candidates hold signs outside polling locations in efforts to sway those last few undecided voters.

But if they get thirsty in the 100-degree heat or need to take a restroom break, these folks, per Davidson County Election Commission rules, aren’t allowed to enter the polling location to use its water fountain or toilet. This is the case even though many of these locations are public buildings — libraries, schools or community centers.

With Metro’s early voting nearing its end and Election Day one week away, Davidson County Deputy Elections Administrator Joan Nixon sent an email to candidates to clarify the rules:

“Your campaign workers are not allowed to come into polling locations unless they are voting,” Nixon’s email reads. “They are not allowed to go in and use the facilities [i.e. water fountain, restroom and etc.] ...”

Nixon, who in the email also outlines various regulations regarding yard signs at poll sites, added that campaign workers are to use “appropriate behavior” when addressing voters outside voting locations.

“It just comes up every election that people are going in and using the facilities — whether it’s water, or whatever, and it’s not allowed,” Nixon told The City Paper.

Nixon said the only people allowed inside are voters, election officials, commissioners, inspectors and poll watchers.

Through Wednesday, 22,771 voters had taken part in early voting. Election Day is Aug. 4. 

11 Comments on this post:

By: dogmrb on 7/28/11 at 1:42

If it's a public facility and the worker has no campaign ID info, how
can they be denied entrance to a tax-payer funded facility?

By: HighlyAnnoyed on 7/29/11 at 6:34

Don't be so stupid. Just because it's a tax-payer funded facility doesn't automatically mean any taxpayer can enter at will. Just try going into the Pentagon without proper authorization.

By: PKVol on 7/29/11 at 7:57

As a former poll worker, I am glad that communication has been sent out in advance of the election about the proper protocol for candidate's supporters. Campaign workers can be agressive, especially if there are opposition campaigners at the same location.

By: macjedi on 7/29/11 at 8:13

Nixon and her boss are full of crap, and they make it their business to interpret state laws - which is the job of JUDGES, not DESK JOCKEYS. The Election Commission has gone to the dogs and they are idiots.

By: TNsay1 on 7/29/11 at 9:02

Last year, I was accosted in the restroom by someone at the Election Commision downtown spouting off politics with religious quotes. Nicely dressed but nutty, it was bizarre.

By: bfra on 7/29/11 at 9:56

macjedi - For your info, Nixon is one of the most level headed & professional person, you could meet. Do you not understand rules & regulations? Get a life! Is business bad lately?

By: girliegirl on 7/29/11 at 12:18

Seriously? Darren Jernigan was sitting in a wheel chair....100 degree heat. You cannot be that heartless. Vivian Wilhoite had to enter the bldg to do something, though I couldn't hear her mumbling to understand why, but she entered, nonetheless. What are y'all gonna do? Arrest them? I can't wait to see this one pan out, seriously.

By: dogmrb on 7/30/11 at 5:38

Who certifies that the Election Commission Rules are legal and enforceable? Metro Council or The Charter?

By: breathofdeath on 7/31/11 at 4:10

The 100 foot boundary is not a Metro-generated rule. Tennessee Code Annotated 2-7-111specifically spells out these polling place restrictions.

By: freespeaker29 on 7/31/11 at 7:42

Please... Darren Jernigan had rode the sympathy train long enough. The man had no kind of leadership skills. Just ask around his district. He sits out there and try's to look helpless but its just a front he uses to sell himself. Rules are rules, if you can't follow them or accommodate, stay home.

By: macjedi on 8/1/11 at 8:11

Ah, bfra, the troll...

Reading the LAW (not some "rules" these jackasses made up based on no legal basis at all) make it perfectly clear - that it is UNCLEAR. Our crappy state law concerning the 100ft boundary has already been to the Supreme Court once - proving how badly it is written. They don't take cases that are cut and dry.