The Franklin County Commission on Tuesday approved a new policy dealing with people who campaign outside polling places during elections.
The “electioneering” policy is directed at people who display signs, pass out campaign literature and do other types of advocacy as voters go inside polling places to vote.
County Clerk Debbie Door, whose office oversees elections, said the policy makes it clear that the owners of polling places, not her office, have the authority to prohibit electioneering on their grounds.
County Commissioner Tim Brinker agreed with the policy, saying it goes back to private property owners deciding what can take place on their properties.
After the last election, Door said she heard from Republicans and Democrats who were upset that they could not electioneer at certain polling places.
There are 48 polling places in the county, and some are public buildings while others are private. The county has agreements to use the facilities as polling places.
About six to seven polling places prohibit electioneering.
Door said the policy approved by the county commission Tuesday is what has been in place, but now it is in writing to make it clear to everyone.
A copy of the policy will be provided to candidates before elections, she said.
Door also will continue to send a list of the polling places that she knows of in advance that do not allow electioneering. But she said there could be others that she does not know about, so it is up to the candidate to find out if the practice is allowed.
The policy states, “No candidate or their representative should assume that electioneering is allowed on the property simply because it is being used as a polling place.”
Some polling places may not want to allow electioneering if an election is about a controversial topic such as stem cell research, Door said.
As for public buildings used as polling places, Door said it would be up to the board of directors that oversees the building to decide whether to allow electioneering.
State law prohibits electioneering within 25 feet of the outside front door to the polling place, Door said.