NASHVILLE, TN – During election season candidates throughout Davidson County hire Campaign Poll Workers to help them stay visible at voting locations. It is a common practice to see individuals waving to voters as they hold up signs representing who they believe should receive your vote.
According to Tenn. Code. Ann. § 2-7-111(a); (b)(1) the display of campaign posters, signs or other campaign materials, distribution of campaign materials, and solicitation of votes for or against any person, political party, or position on a question are prohibited within 100 feet of any building in which a polling place is located.
At the majority of these polling places the 100 feet rule has allowed for voters to feel comfortable and safe in the voting process. Unfortunately at Bordeaux Library, located in North Nashville, poll workers have continued to make the location a toxic environment turning off both voters and others hired to work there. Candidates continue to allow their workers to push the limits of the 100 feet rule.
During this latest early voting season The Nashville Voice has continued to receive reports of Bordeaux Library poll workers yelling at voters with megaphones, arguing with each other, and representing their candidates in a negative light.
We were able to talk with a poll worker, who wished to remain anonymous, about the working conditions at Bordeaux Library. “Besides the constant screaming as each voter walks in to vote, there are workers here who are actually fighting between campaigns, taking down signs and even putting gum on other workers chairs.” She continued. “It is more productive if they just sit here with the signs. People already are committed to voting because they are here and already know who they are voting for. They don’t need people yelling at them as the walk into the door.”
At The Nashville Voice we have to agree that candidates are not persuading anyone to vote for them by allowing their workers to scream at voters. While a sign and a few people may help to remind voters of a candidate, it is no need for these type of actions to continue.
What also is disturbing is that these reports are only coming from predominately African American polling locations. Do candidates believe that black voters are only attracted to drama? “They aren’t doing this anywhere else, they aren’t acting this way in Bellevue or Green Hills,” explained the anonymous poll worker. “Why do they have to come up here and act ignorant?”
As early voting ends, we hope that the remaining run-off candidates will find a way to have better control of their poll workers on election day. The real question we have is this further proof of the divisiveness of modern day politics, or is it just some ratchet and ghetto mess? Because as one voter was overheard saying “why do they think I will vote for their guy because they screamed at me?”