As a follow up to our recent post about reporting election irregularities, Ohio VIP would like to clarify the use of cell phones as it relates to election workers. According to Ohio Secretary of State Directives 2012-12 and 2012-12-2, Secretary Husted has issued the following instructions for Poll Observers:
Observers may use communication devices and audio/video devices in and about the polling place subject to the following conditions:
2) The devices may not be used to take photographs, videos, or to record or transcribe any conversations inside the polling place (a camera is considered a device for purposes of these instructions);
3) The Observer may not have an audible conversation inside the polling place using a communications device or audio/video device;
4) The Observer may send and receive text messages, email communications, instant messages, and similar other non-verbal, electronic communications using a communications device or audio/video device;
5) The Observer may not use the communications device or audio/video device in any manner that creates a disruption or disturbance within the polling place; and
6) The Observer may not use the communications device or audio/video device in any manner that is intended or perceived to impede, interfere with, or disrupt an election, or in any way intimidates a voter, or risks violating the secrecy of the ballot or a voter’s privacy.
Precinct Election Officials (formerly called poll workers) who are hired by the county Boards of Elections (BOE) should take direction from their BOE as to their county’s policy on the use of cell phones. In Hamilton County, all precinct election officials are required to have their cells phones turned on throughout Election Day.
For all others at the polls, cell phone usage is not restricted beyond the 100 foot flags outside of the polling location.
Thank you to all that have volunteered as inside and outside poll workers. Let’s make sure that every voter has a positive voting experience this Tuesday.