As election nears, be mindful of where you campaign

Published 8:31 pm Saturday, October 15, 2016

With absentee voting under way, the Clark County Courthouse is off-limits for political campaigning including wearing apparel or buttons for candidates.

Clark County resident Mike Irwin told the Clark County Fiscal Court Wednesday he was asked to leave a polling place for wearing a Donald Trump hat earlier this year and wondered how that could happen.

Clark County Attorney Brian Thomas said wearing hats, shirts and buttons falls under the electioneering statute, which prohibits any campaigning within 100 feet of a polling place. Until 2014, the law was 300 feet, he said.

Since absentee voting opened Tuesday at the courthouse, Thomas said Irwin, who was wearing a Trump hat at the fiscal court meeting, was technically in violation of the statute.

“They can prohibit the hats,” Thomas said. “They can be asked to leave and they can be fined.”

A bumper sticker on a passing vehicle could be an exception, he said.

Clark County Clerk Michelle Turner said none of her precinct workers noted an incident like what Erwin described, and Wednesday’s meeting was the first she’d heard about any incidents.

“There’s no politicking within the courthouse,” she said.

With the election nearing, preparations for other facets are under way as well.

Turner said the Sphar and Van Meter precincts have been moved to Baker Intermediate school instead of the Elks Lodge. Turner said an audit last year found there were accessibility issues with several precincts, but the Elks could not be remedied.

Another situation at the county fire station in Trapp has been fixed, she said, and voting will occur as normal.

No other precincts have been moved, she said.

Contact Fred Petke at fred.petke@winchestersun.com.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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