Today's Law Enforcement Hero
The indispensable Matt Drudge directs us to a case in Florida illustrating the consequences of violating election laws:
A freelance journalist taking pictures of voters waiting outside the Palm Beach County elections headquarters was arrested after ignoring a deputy's orders to stop, sheriff's officials said. James S. Henry, of Sag Harbor, N.Y., was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence.
Sheriff's Deputy Al Cinque tried to stop Henry as he shot pictures of about 600 people standing in line to vote Sunday afternoon. Henry began running away, but Cinque tackled him, the Palm Beach Post reported.
The deputy pinned Henry, 54, to the ground, yelling for him to stop moving, then punched him in the back. Cinque handcuffed Henry's left arm, pulled him to his feet and punched him again as Henry tried to hand him identification cards, according to the paper.
One wonders why the freelance journalist thought his identification cards were going to give him a free pass on breaking the law. Especially after he disobeyed an order and attempted to flee the scene. I fear the defense, "But officer, I'm a journalist!" may only have resulted in a few more whacks.
Let me take this opportunity to remind the Twin Cities media of Minnesota law relating to their presence at the polling places tomorrow. From Minnesota statute 204C.06:
Access for news media. The county auditor or municipal or school district clerk, or their designee, may, by written authorization, permit news media representatives to enter polling places for up to 15 minutes during voting hours to observe the voting process. A media representative must obtain prior authorization and present photo identification to the head election judge upon arrival at the polling place and must not otherwise:
(1) approach within six feet of an election judge or voter;
(2) converse with a voter while in the polling place;
(3) make a list of persons voting or not voting; or
(4) interview a voter within the polling place.
Intrepid reporters and columnists, to summarize, to get into the polling place, you need advance written authorization, you can't stay for more than 15 minutes, and you can't talk to or even come within 6 feet of anybody. Is that clear?
The statute doesn't specify what the specific punishment is for violating these laws. So I'll be contacting Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputy Al Cinque for advice. He seems to have an effective approach to handling scofflaws.