In the state of Massachusetts, it’s illegal to campaign for any candidate more than 150 feet from a polling place while voting takes place. Former President Bill Clinton was making the rounds on behalf of his wife Hillary and made a surprise Super Tuesday campaign swing through the Bay State stopping at polling locations.
Bill Clinton not only campaigned for Hillary outside polling locations within the legal requirement, he and Mayor Martin Walsh were also blocking the entrance and went inside the polling location itself, which some say influenced voters.
The Boston Herald reported that the former secretary of state has a long history there, as Bill Clitnon noted, starting during her days at Wellesley College, and continuing through a primary victory versus Barack Obama in 2008.
“I just wanted to end up here,” Clinton told a Herald reporter in this working-class seaside city when asked about the eleventh-hour Bay State barnstorming. “I’ve been working the others, I’ve been in Texas, in a lot of the other states. But it’s important to us, it’s important personally.”
At 9:35 a.m., as a steady stream of voters headed into Holy Name Church gymnasium to vote, former President Bill Clinton arrived in an SUV.
He waved, he shook hands, he posed for pictures, he kissed an old lady on the top of her head. One man was overheard exclaiming, “I just bumped into the president. It was awesome!”
While the fine people of Massachusetts thought that was ‘awesome,’ many others did not.
The American Mirror reported that a Massachusetts voter was fuming after she says her polling location was shut down to accommodate a visit by Bill Clinton on Tuesday.
Angela Grace posted cell phone video showing orange barrels and yellow police line tape at what she says was a New Bedford voting location.
“I haven’t seen one person be able to come in and be able to vote in here. Everything is blocked off. No person can park here.
“They are affecting the voting at this poll. It’s ridiculous. It’s fraud and illegal,” she declared while panning the camera across the scene showing the media and police milling about while dozens of observers are cordoned off.
“From one side of the street to the other, there’s no way anybody can get down here to vote.”
She laid the blame at the feet of the New Bedford mayor, Jon F. Mitchell.
“Mayor of New Bedford, MA campaigning for Hillary and blocking this voting poll!!! No one has come here to vote in the 2 hours I’ve been here by the door!!” she wrote in the video description.
Another video, posted by WFHN, shows Mitchell speaking into a bull horn after Bill Clinton addressed the crowd for several minutes.
Mitchell proceeded to campaign for Hillary Clinton outside the polling location, telling the crowd she spent some of her “formative years just a few blocks from here.”
“Let’s do our part to get her over the hump now,” he said, in an obvious attempt to influence voters.
Bill Clinton, Mayor Marty Walsh, and an unidentified man at Holy Name in West Roxbury posing with a Democratic ballot.
— Sera Congi (@seracongi) March 1, 2016
Clinton and Mitchell appeared to be in violation of a Massachusetts state law that bars electioneering within a certain distance of a polling location.
Via the National Association of Secretaries of State, Massachusetts law reads:
Within 150 feet of a polling place…no person shall solicit votes for or against, or otherwise promote or oppose, any person or political party or position on a ballot question, to be voted on at the current election. No campaign material intended to influence the vote of a voter in the ongoing election, including campaign literature, buttons, signs, and ballot stickers, may be posted, exhibited, circulated, or distributed in the polling place, in the building where it is located, on the building walls, on the premises where the building stands, or within 150 feet of an entrance door to the building. ( 950 CMR 53.03(18); 54.04.22)