Sam Bayard's blog

Documenting Your Vote: North Carolina Election Laws

Although you wouldn't guess from the photograph on the right and others available online (here, here, and here), North Carolina law places heavy restrictions on photography and videography inside polling places on Election Day. Luckily, North Carolina also provides some helpful guidelines on permissible newsgathering activities at the polls.

Section 163-166.3(b) of the North Carolina General Statutes says that no person may "photograph, videotape, or otherwise record the image of any voter within the voting enclosure, except with the permission of both the voter and the chief judge of the precinct." Depending on the attitude of the chief poll worker at your precinct towards photography and videography, this amounts to a near-prohibition on using recording devices inside the "voting enclosure," which means "the room within the voting place that is used for voting."  N.C. Gen. Stat. § 163-165.

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Documenting Your Vote: Pennsylvania Election Laws

Although Pennsylvania no longer looks like much of a swing state, today I'll discuss the Pennsylvania laws that impact your ability to document your own voting experience through video and still photography, as well as your ability to carry out other newsgathering functions, such as interviewing other voters outside of polling places.

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Documenting Your Vote: Virginia Election Laws

In the wake of the final presidential debate last night, polls suggest that Virginia is poised to be a key state come November 4.  If you're a Virginia voter thinking about documenting the big day, Virginia election law may affect your ability to use video or still photography in and around your polling place, as well as your ability to interview other voters at the polls.

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Documenting Your Vote: Ohio Election Laws

Continuing our focus on swing states, I'll look today at the laws regulating polling place activities in Ohio. These laws may impact your ability to document your own voting experience through video and still photography, as well as your ability to carry out other newsgathering functions, such as interviewing other voters outside of polling places.

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Oregon Shield Law Protects Anonymous Commenter

Last week, an Oregon state judge ruled that Oregon's media shield law, found at Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 44.510 to 44.540, protected the identity of an anonymous commenter who posted allegedly defamatory statements on The Portland Mercury and Willamette Week websites.

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Documenting Your Vote: Florida Election Laws

This post is another in our series looking at state election laws that regulate activities at polling places on Election Day.  These laws, which we cover from a general standpoint in the Documenting Your Vote section of our legal guide, may impact your ability to document your own voting experience through video and still photography, as well as your ability to carry out other newsgathering functions, such as interviewing other voters outside of polling places.

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Documenting Your Vote: California Election Laws

The CMLP is currently doing research on the state laws regulating activities at polling places on Election Day.  Our specific focus is on laws that impact voters' ability to document their own voting experiences through video and still photography, as well as their ability to carry out other newsgathering functions, such as interviewing other voters outside of polling places.  In this post, I'll look at how California's election laws affect these activities.

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Big Media Challenges Constitutionality of Minnesota Polling Restriction

ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and the Associated Press have joined forces to challenge a Minnesota statute that forbids non-voters to stand within 100 feet of the entrance to a polling place on election day.  In their complaint, the media companies allege that this restriction, as applied to their planned exit polling activities, violates the First Amendment.

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Marc Randazza: First Amendment Juggernaut

My good friend Marc Randazza has given me the green light on an exciting piece of news.  On September 11, 2008, Florida Circuit Court Judge George Sprinkle entered a default judgment in favor of Randazza's client Larry Giles, operator of the Veranda Park News, an online newspaper offering observations and commentary on events and aesthetic issues in Giles's development community.  The court

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YouTube Changes Guidelines, Senator Lieberman Gets Partial Victory on Terrorist Videos

Taking full advantage of the seventh anniversary of 9/11, YouTube announced changes to its community guidelines last week, prohibiting the upload of videos inciting others to commit violent acts.  The change comes several months after Senator Joe Lieberman pressured YouTube to remove videos not only inciting violence, but also content "that can be readily identified as produced by Al-Qaeda or another [Foreign Terrorist Organization]," through logos such as these:

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Jones Day Gets Trademark Law Wrong, Squelches Legitimate Reporting

Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen published a fantastic post on Friday about big law firm Jones Day's lawsuit against BlockShopper.com, an online real estate news website covering Chicago, South Florida, Las Vegas, and St.

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Montana Shield Law Protects Anonymous Commenters

Judge Todd Baugh of Montana's 13th Judicial District ruled on Wednesday that Montana's shield law protects an online newspaper from having to disclose the identities of anonymous commenters. The ruling treats anonymous commenters like other confidential sources, whose identities are commonly protected by state shield laws.

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Dog Track Drops Lawsuit, Leaving Blogger Relieved But Rattled

The Arizona Star reports that the Tucson Greyhound Park has dropped its defamation lawsuit against blogger Karyn Zoldan of the End Tucson Greyhound Racing website and blog. Both parties agreed to dismissal of the suit, but Zoldan did not pay anything in return for the settlement.

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Turkish Court Ends Latest YouTube Ban

The Guardian reports that a Turkish court has lifted the ban on YouTube in that country, imposed by an Ankara court in May 2008 after it determined that certain videos posted on the popular video-sharing site insulted Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.

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Vegas Nightclub's Trademark Claims Against Blogger Likely a Bust

Privé Vegas, LLC and two of its owners sued Las Vegas-based blogger Michael Politz last week, alleging trademark infringement, dilution, and "disaparagement" under the Lanham Act, defamation, trade libel, tortious interference with business relations, and extortion.

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California Court Warns Copyright Bullies Not to Ignore Fair Use

A federal district court in California held on Wednesday that copyright owners must consider fair use before sending DMCA takedown notices to avoid liability for abuse of the law's procedures. The ruling is a huge victory for free speech advocates and may have far-reaching implications for the way content owners police infringement online. 

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