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evmori

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Except that they may not have actually gotten the ok from the Election Commission to proceed. The Committee Chair claims that they got the ok from the Election Commission on 2 occasions but he hasn't produced any thing in writing from the commission to verify that they received the OK.

 

According to the Election Commission, the units (a Troop and a Ship were doing the drive), contacted the Commission to ask about the project and the Commission told them that the Commission has to get written permission from all of the polling places to use these places as polling places but that this permission didn't extend to a collection drive and that the Commission would have to contact the polling places to find out if it was ok. The Commission also said they weren't sure it could be done in the first place because there are rules about what can be posted within 150 yards of the polling place and they needed to look into it. The Election Commission claims they never gave permission to the Scouts to set up at the polling places - and that after their initial conversation, they never heard back from the Scouts to see if they wanted the Commission to try to get the permissions needed.

 

The Scout unit's Committee Chair claims they (the Scouts) went to the owners of the polling places and got the permissions (except that the Election Commission told the Scouts that the Election Commission needed to get the approvals - seems like that's either a case of being told something and hearing it as something else or being over-zealous and taking on the job oneself without discussing it with the people that would need to do the work). It appears that if they did get permission from the polling places, they didn't tell the Election Commission that they got the approvals from the polling places. Even if they had gotten permission from the polling places, the Election Commission may still have told them no - as the question about whether this could be done at a polling place in the first place was never settled.

 

This does seem like a great project - it unfortunately wasn't processed correctly - part of project planning, as all good Eagle Scouts should know, is making sure all of your permissions are in place and your ducks lined up. The Scouts didn't have those ducks lined up, and this is the result. Right now, in discussion boards with local newspapers discussing this case, the populace is ripping into the Election Commission over this - the Scouts have made the Election Commission look like ogres when the Scouts FAILED to secure proper permissions. Lost in all that hubub is that the Election Commission did not make the decision to pull the boxes in a vacuum, or even on its own - they got a complaint, and went to the City Solicitor's office (that's the city's lawyer) to ask what should be done - the City Solicitor advised the Election Commission to remove the boxes just to be on the safe side. Had the Scouts followed up with the Commission to determine the legality of placing the boxes at the polling places and let the Commission research it before the election day, those boxes may never have been removed. It appears the Secretary of State's Office made an informal determination - AFTER the election day, that this would probably have been ok - its a shame that the Scouts didn't work the process correctly to find out beforehand if it was ok.

 

While we may all agree this is a great, and non-political, project, the Election Commission did the right thing in pulling the boxes at the time. It may still turn out after a formal review (if one is requested) that the Secretary of State's Office could determine that the project violated polling place and election laws. We shouldn't be comdemning the Election Commission, the person making the complaint (that's like a shoplifter condemning Walmart after Walmart files a shoplifting charge against him), or the Scouts. We should look on this as a learning ooportunity to show the Scouts what happens when you: a) act on what you think you heard when you may have been told something completely different without verifying what you heard; b) fail to make sure you have all the appropriate permissions in writing; and c) fail to keep in contact with the people in charge.

 

Calico

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It might actually work out to be a good thing. Donations may increase. There's no better publicity than a news report of the government stepping on the Boy Scouts.

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Personally I think the Scout, his Troop, and any Scout or Scouter involved in placing the boxes owes a public apology to the Election Commission, the voters, and the city. The Election Commission has specific rules that must be followed, have we all forgotten the 2000 election so soon? It's a matter of law not Commission permission. My polling place is at a local school, contacting my school district and obtaining permission does not change the law covering polling places and solicitation. When was the last time anyone saw any organization allowed to solicit for anything at a polling place?

LH

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I don't know but it is possible the polling place was also the Troop's COR! That should make a difference.

 

They weren't soliciting! Putting up a sign & accepting donations for our boys on active duty is not soliciting or promoting war! The apology should come from the election commission.

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10(This message has been edited by evmori)

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I really don't think so Ed, for the allotted time that specific place was being used as a "polling place" it fell under specific guidelines and laws. The church where our troop meets is a polling place, during those hours we can't solicit for pro life, we can't display anti or pro posters for a specific cause. We can not engage in any activity that COULD be viewed as an attempt to influence voters.

That being said the rule is "within 150 feet of the polling place". The "polling place" being interpreted as the actual spot at which one casts their vote. SO.. out in the parking lot and on the sidewalk in front of the church is the line of people distributing hand bills for candidates or causes. My issue with the original case you posted is that the Scout caused the Election Commission and the City embarrassment because the Scout did not follow BSA procedure. It was the Scout's actions that precipitated the reaction of the "government". We expect the government to follow the rules particularly when we are casting our votes. Intentional or not the Scout made the error and IMO should issue an apology.

 LH

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This sounds like a no-brainer. I've always thought it was simple common knowledge that polling places are for polling only and nothing else, no exceptions.

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I'm much rather see a popcorn Show-n-Sell or Girlscout Cookies for sale at the 150' marker than be hassled by people looking to push their candidate's position paper under my nose or being asked to sign a petition for someone else's campaign bid in the next election...

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I think if the scouts got persmission from the owners of the facilities (where the polling places were located) after they had agreed to serve as polling places (and therefore, I assume they agreed abide the polling rules) then the error falls on the owners of the facilities not the scouts.

 

Also, per the Boston Herald article, this wasnt an Eagle project but just a service project being done by the Scouts. In addition this article claims it wasnt that the Scouts hadnt obtained proper approval but that the Election Commission was unable to confirm they had recieved approval. (big difference)

 

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/general/view.bg?articleid=1045046(This message has been edited by erickelly65)

 

Here is an op ed piece claiming that there were other "political" flyers on display at the Polling places of a more "anti-war" nature that were not removed.

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/editorials/view.bg?articleid=1044992(This message has been edited by erickelly65)

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Thank goodness! From the thread title, I thought it was something serious, like stopping patch collecting!

;)

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