Monday, March 3, 2008

Another Bad Idea from Tennessee Democrats

Detailed in the article entitled Bill would let candidates feed poll workers.

Tennessee lawmakers are getting ready to cross a line — the invisible 100-foot boundary that's supposed to separate candidates from the inside of a polling place on Election Day.

Nashville Democrats Sen. Joe Haynes of Goodlettsville and Rep. Gary Moore of Joelton, propose letting candidates for public office enter polling places, bearing gifts of doughnuts, pizzas, beverages and other goodies to feed poll workers.

Supporters call it a gesture of good will and kindness for the poll workers, many of whom are elderly volunteers working grueling 12-hour shifts. Opponents point out that the dividing line between the candidates and the voting booth is there for a reason.

An attempt to pass the House bill Thursday was derailed when supporters weren't able to kill an amendment by Rep. Donna Rowland, R-Murfreesboro, that would block the candidates from delivering the food in person.

"We need to make sure we're above reproach," Rowland said.

Lawmaker sees problem

The motion to set her amendment aside was defeated by a vote of 46-45. Opponents characterized the amendment as "heartless."

State Rep. Frank Buck, D-Smithville, warned that letting candidates deliver gifts of any sort to poll workers "will open the door for fraud."

"If your opponent brings a meal in, that means you've got to bring a meal in," Buck said. "People will try to fudge. Historically, that's what happens."

Moore, the House sponsor, bristled at the implication.

"I'm not trying to buy anybody's vote," he said. "To think that anybody's going to buy a vote for a sandwich is ludicrous."

State Election Coordinator Brook Thompson took no official position but noted that some counties have provisions for feeding poll workers.

Frank Buck is a true conservative democrat who is not liked by the democrat machine in Tennessee.

I don't think we really need to lay out all the potential issues with this? Especially with the more local elections - I know that some democrats in counties like mine are seeing the dramatic increase in conservatives elected to local offices, & they want to "stem the tide" as much as possible. I guess it's easier to try & get around the rules than to get better candidates with better ideas?

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