11

Here is an example of Trump supporters' presence at a polling station, and the article mentions:

Election officials said that the group stayed about 100 feet from the entrance to the building and, contrary to posts on social media, were not directly blocking access to the building

So, seems that there are some rules, but the article does not describe them in detail.

Are there any rules for such groups? What is allowed, and what is not allowed? (For example, can such people be armed?)

17

It depends on individual state laws. The National Association of Secretaries of State has produced this document (Oct '20) summarising the laws on electioneering activities within a certain distance of polling places in each state.

The case linked in the question occurred in Virginia, and appears to fall under ยง24.2-604(A) of the Code of Virginia:

During the times the polls are open and ballots are being counted, it is unlawful for any person (i) to loiter or congregate within 40 feet of any entrance of any polling place; (ii) within such distance to give, tender, or exhibit any ballot, ticket, or other campaign material to any person or to solicit or in any manner attempt to influence any person in casting his vote; or (iii) to hinder or delay a qualified voter in entering or leaving a polling place.

So given that the campaigners were 100 feet away, and didn't block access to the building, it would seem that they didn't fall foul of this statute, despite the fact that election officials quoted in the article "acknowledged that some voters and polling staff members felt intimidated by what some saw as protesters".

I'm not aware of any state statutes which would prevent these campaigners from being armed, and any such prohibitions would be likely to be challenged under the 2nd amendment.

3
  • Texas prohibits weapons "on the premises of a polling place", which generally wouldn't include individuals demonstrating some distance away but is an explicit restriction. – chrylis -cautiouslyoptimistic- Oct 23 '20 at 20:58
  • @chrylis-cautiouslyoptimistic- Interesting -- if there were any state that allowed gun in a polling place, I'd expect it to be Texas. – Barmar Oct 24 '20 at 16:46
  • Being intimidated and being outside the scope of the distance statute, are two quite different things. I'd hope that you'd agree that intimidation could occur (in VA) without regard to the distance from the entrance – BobE Oct 26 '20 at 3:01

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