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At-Large Race: Polls Are Political Pencil-Free Zone

By all accounts it seems that Carol Schwartz has had an army of volunteers working the polls across the city today.

The workers, clad in black and yellow T-shirts, have been handing out literature and posting the Republican incumbent's yellow and black signs. Some of them have also been handing out small pencils with the candidate's name on them for her write-in campaign.

The Board of Elections and Ethics---and the Wire---have heard of reports of pencil sightings in some polling places. Apparently, some voters may have unwittingly left the pencils in the voting booths, which is a no-no. Election materials must not be in the polling places.

Dan Murphy, spokesman for the board, said the following in an email to the Wire's Nikita Stewart:

"While pencils may be used to fill in ballots, they are considered campaign paraphernalia and, as such, must not be allowed to remain inside voting areas once they have been used. Accrodingly, please remove any pencils bearing campaign information from the polling areas and, as always, please ensure that voters are not permitted to wear campaign paraphernaila within 50 feet of a polling place."

The board called also Schwartz's campaign headquarters to tell them that some of the little yellow "Write in Carol Schwartz" pencils were being left inside the polling stations once voters marked their ballots.

"We asked our volunteers to remind voters not to leave them behind," said John Abbott, Schwartz's chief of staff.

"The pencils were a perfectly reasonable thing to hand out," he said. "But just like fliers and other literature, some of them were left behind by voters."

By Marcia Davis  |  November 4, 2008; 2:59 PM ET
Categories:  2008 District Election  
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I vote in Precinct 143 (East Chinatown). With our high law student population, it seems like the kind of place that would be willing to consider a write-in. When I voted at 8 AM, though, no one was working the line for Schwartz -- I didn't even see posters.

Posted by: tomveiltomveil | November 4, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

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