Did Michelle Obama Break Law by Campaigning in Polling Place?

I assume that virtually everyone knows that it is agains the law to campaign in a polling place. Anyone who has voted knows that those pushing for candidates are not allowed to get very to where voting is taking place. One would especially think that a Harvard educated lawyer and, even more importantly, someone intimately involved in politics would know the rules. But apparently it doesn't matter for Michelle Obama. From the Drudge Report:

First lady Michelle Obama appears to have violated Illinois law -- when she engaged in political discussion at a polling place!

The drama began after Mrs. Obama stopped off at the Martin Luther King Center on the south side of Chicago to cast an early vote.

After finishing at the machine, Obama went back to the desk and handed in her voting key.

She let voters including electrician Dennis Campbell, 56, take some photos.

"She was telling me how important it was to vote to keep her husband's agenda going," Campbell said.

According to a pool reporter from the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES at the scene, the conversation took place INSIDE the voting center, not far from the booths.

Illinois state law -- Sec. 17-29 (a) -- states: "No judge of election, pollwatcher, or other person shall, at any primary or election, do any electioneering or soliciting of votes or engage in any political discussion within any polling place [or] within 100 feet of any polling place."

A top Ilinois State Board of Elections official tells the DRUDGE REPORT that Mrs. Obama -- a Harvard-educated lawyer -- may have simply been ignorant of the law and thus violated it unintentionally.

"You kind of have to drop the standard for the first lady, right?" the official explained late Thursday. "I mean, she's pretty well liked and probably doesn't know what she's doing."


When questioned about the brazen nature of Mrs. Obama's campaigning, press secretary Robert Gibbs defended the action.

"I don't think it would be much to imagine, the First Lady might support her husband's agenda," Gibbs smiled.

Fox News defends Michelle Obama here.

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Blogger FavaBeansNiceChianti said...

If the Constitution doesn't apply to that family, why should Illinois election laws matter?

10/15/2010 4:43 AM  
Blogger Harry Schell said...

What a surprise!

Was it her idea to quash the New Black Panthers voter intimidation case?

Between this and her cheeseburger lunch, the hypocrisy bar just went lower.

10/15/2010 10:41 AM  
Blogger John said...

It's OK because she's a Democrat and her intentions were good.

10/15/2010 11:37 AM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

Dual standards for the elite while we the people would be prosecuted for such actions...

Then again, when has ignorance of the law ever been upheld as an excuse not to punish a lawbreaker?

I do find it difficult to believe that Fox News would actually give Mrs. Obama a possible way out of the accusation itself. I can see Robert Gibbs doing it, but Mr. Gibbs' statement simply supports the allegation that Mrs. Obama did indeed break the law, and provides an excuse for her to do so.

As for her ignorance, I find it very difficult to believe that an individual can earn their J.D. degree from Harvard, and not know that many states prohibit any form of campaigning near or at a polling place!

10/15/2010 1:29 PM  

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