A supporter of Measure 1 sent me a picture (above) this morning of a League of Women Voters voting guide being distributed at a polling place in Burleigh County. Specifically, the photo was taken in the Burleigh County Auditor’s office which is an early voting location.
ND Choose Life, which is the committee formed to support Mesaure 1, has objected to the language used in the voting guide before. This is from a September 30 “fact check” posted on their website:
In a shocking display of lack of integrity, the League of Women Voters of North Dakota has released a voter guide containing language purporting to describe Measure 1. However, the language being provided to voters is not the official language created by the state, but rather a description being used by opponents of the measure. It is designed to mislead voters in violation of the mission of the League itself. The voter guide titles Measure 1 as “Life Begins at Conception,” and states, “The measure, upon voter approval, would declare in the state constitution that life begins at conception.” It goes on to claim that no other state has approved a measure like this, thus “there is no precedent for how this amendment would affect activities that are currently legal.” Each of these claims is false.
You can read the full voting guide here.
Now, agree or disagree with the language in the voting guide, should any private political group get to have their literature at a polling place?
Here’s the law regarding electioneering at a polling location:
One could argue that the League of Women Voters is not trying to “induce or persuade” voters with their guide. The group would no-doubt argue that they are merely trying to inform voters.
But isn’t that what every candiddate and campaign would say of their ads and materials? That they are trying to inform?
Voters have plenty of opportunity to access information about the issues and candidates on the ballot. There’s no need to give a group special access to the polling location, especially when there is question about whether or not that group is neutral on a given issue.
Measure 1 supporters tell me they’ve contacted the Secretary of State’s office about this issue – I’ve been told that these guides are at polling locations all over the state, but I haven’t seen evidence of it – but despite sending the message yesterday they haven’t received a response.
Update: The Secretary of State’s office sent the email below out to all county auditors: