Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Campaign signs taken down from polling locations amid complaints

By Ashley Badgley

BOSTON (Mass) —In Dorchester's District 15, three out of seven polling places had signs illegally posted within 150 feet of the building.

Signs within 150 feet of a polling place are prohibited, according to the Secretary of State's Election Day Summary.

Polls located at the following addresses in Dorchester had signs posted in support of candidate, Martha Coakley.

1) Fire Station, Ladder 7, Engine 17: 7 Parish St., 2 signs posted.
2) Pasciucco Apartments: 330 Bowdoin St., 1 sign posted.
3) John Marshall School: 35 Westville St., 3 signs posted.

When signs are posted too close to a polling place, the polling wardens and other election employees are not allowed to take them down. They are, however, required to report it to city hall if they receive a complaint,

Warden Wilma Brown from the polls at 330 Bowdoin St. said."[The sign] is not mine to take down," Brown said.

Brown said she called city hall because she received a complaint. There were no issues and the sign was quickly removed, she said."It is my obligation as the warden here," Brown said. "There was a complaint and I called and they took it down.

"Despite the rules forbidding election workers and voters from removing the signs, one of the signs in front of the Fire Station at 7 Parish St. was quickly torn down by a man standing outside.

Marianne Armstrong, registrar with the City of Boston Elections office, said the number of complaints thus far is not yet known.

She said when they receive complaints, the warden tells the police officer on location to take it down."There is an officer at every location," Armstrong said.

"If the warden tells the police officer, the officer takes the sign down."Brown has been working at the 330 Bowdoin St. location for 18 years.

Every year, she said signs are posted where the removed Coakley sign was. Up until this year, she said, no complaints have ever been filed.

"People have always posted signs," she said. "People can't stand there with signs, but signs have always been there."As of 9 a.m., about 60 people had voted at Brown's location.
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