Elections Board Votes To Keep Ban On Cameras In Polling Places

Government Accountability Board Votes 4-2 In Favor Of Ban After Hearing Testimony On Monday

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The state Legislature still has the power to approve camera use in polling places. Photo: Pete Markham (CC-BY-SA).

The state’s elections agency has decided not to lift its ban on the use of cameras at polling places.

The Government Accountability Board voted 4-2 to maintain the ban, meaning election observers still won’t be able to take photographs or videos of voters at the polls during this year’s elections. The vote followed public testimony from two groups worried that cameras could have a chilling effect on voting.

Andrea Kaminski with the League of Women Voters said the cameras could intimidate voters.

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“Whenever you have a stranger taking a picture of you, you wonder what’s going on there and why they’re doing that,” Kaminski said. “And we think that that can lead some people to be uncomfortable enough that they would not want to vote, that they wouldn’t go to the polls.”

Greg Jones with the NAACP said cameras would give election observers the ability to record information that should be private.

“It opens up the opportunity for confidential and/or private information to be divulged unnecessarily or unknowingly,” Jones said.

Board member Tim Vocke, who wanted to allow cameras, said he thought the approach should be tried possibly as a pilot project to determine the pros and cons.

The board’s decision to keep current rules in place for cameras went against the wishes of the Republican lawmakers who chair the Legislature’s election committees. The Legislature could change the rules if it wants to, though lawmakers are not currently in session.

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