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Networks, AP, Sue Minnesota over Restriction on Exit Pollsters

Published on September 30, 2008, by in General.

On September 29, the Associated Press, the TV networks, and the Edison-Mitofsky Company sued the Minnesota Secretary of State over a law passed this year that bars exit pollsters within 100 feet of any building which houses a polling station. Minnesota is the only state with such a restriction on exit pollsters.

The exit polling company and the TV networks always win these cases. Earlier this year they sued South Dakota and won; South Dakota didn’t even contest the case, but merely gave in. Thanks to Ed Still’s VoteLawBlog for this news.

8 Responses

  1. Michael Seebeck

    Uh, not so. At least one other state has such a restriction.

    Colorado has such a restriction, since 1993, in CRS 1-5-105-1:

    No election-related activity shall be conducted within one hundred feet of any building in which a polling place is located except that of the conduct of the election at the polling place.

    Source: current Colorado Revised Statutes

  2. brad moore

    Texas also has this law regarding 100ft

  3. Alex

    Michael and/or brad, have either of those restrictions been challenged in court? The point in the post is that the networks/polling companies win when the laws are challeneged: if neither of these have been challenged, then that point would be accurate.

  4. Richard

    Exit polling isn’t considered “election-related”. That may sound peculiar, but that’s how it has been interpreted. Exit pollsters in Texas and Colorado are not bound by those laws.

  5. ETJB

    The concern in Minnesota was probably, for better or for the worse, questions of voter intimidation.

    I am not sure if it was supported by a current, new Secretary of State or the former Secretary of State. I would prefer to think it was the later, but who knows.

    If they almost always lose in court, then I suspect the MN law will as well.

  6. Jim Riley

    The Texas law is against electioneering for or against a candidate, measure, or party; or “loitering”. I doubt that the loitering provision is particularly easy to enforce.

  7. Michael Seebeck

    Actually, Richard, they *are* bound by it in CO. In 2002 one of our Congressional candidates did exactly that and both he and his pollsters were told they had to be past the 100-foot line. I was one of those pollsters.

  8. Michael Seebeck

    Alex, AFAIK, the CO law has not been challenged, and the Lexis NExus site that lists the CRS lists relevant court rulings on each section, and there is nothing there on it.

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