HomeNewsHDTC: "Campaign Materials are not Allowed at the Polling Station" (So Don't...

HDTC: “Campaign Materials are not Allowed at the Polling Station” (So Don’t “Flash it Around”)

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On Thursday, May 16, the Hopkinton Democratic Town Committee, through its Facebook page, posted a “cheat sheet” flyer of Democratic candidates to vote for next Monday. 

We’ve been asked for our list of endorsed Democrats so people call [sic] take the list to the polls. Sure, here it is! It’s especially useful this year because the party designations will be missing from the ballots. Be sure to just use the list privately in the voting booth and not flash it around because campaign materials are not allowed at the polling station.

A flyer created by the HDTC

Advising someone to bring posters into a polling station is considered electioneering. Electioneering involves any activities intended to influence or persuade voters to support or oppose a particular candidate or issue while they are in the process of voting. This includes the display or distribution of campaign materials such as posters, signs, handbills, or any other forms of political messaging within the designated buffer zone around the polling place. In Massachusetts, General Law Chapter 54, Section 65 explicitly prohibits the posting, exhibition, circulation, or distribution of any campaign materials within the polling place or within 150 feet of the building entrance. 

While it is not illegal to bring a list of candidates, notes, and even a specimen ballot into a polling station, the artifact produced by the HDTC appears to be designed to influence voters with the phrase “Please vote to elect” displayed prominently. Should the poster be shared, left behind in a booth, or dropped on the ground, it may constitute a display.

Reached for comment, Town Clerk Connor Degan, whose office supervises elections, wrote:

Beyond campaign literature, voters are also allowed to create their own list or “cheat sheet” that they can use for reference in the voting booth. Voters are prohibited from leaving any campaign material or cheat sheets behind in the booth. Hopkinton has three Election Wardens that are the first point-of-enforcement for the 150-Foot Rule (also explained in the Advisory), with aid from the police if necessary.  All of our election personnel are trained on this guidance and will both regularly sweep booths to ensure no campaign literature is left behind and instruct voters to stow any materials and cover any paraphernalia. Voters are always encouraged to inform election personnel if they are concerned about any activity so that it can either be addressed or the voter can be reassured of the activity’s legality.

The election is Monday, May 20. 

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  1. Cheating again?!?! Why am I not surprised??? Darlene Hayes and Amy Groves should be embarrassed and ashamed but by now we all know that ‘ain’t happening’
    These people will stop at nothing to attain/retain power. I am completely disgusted with the HTDC yet again.

    Please vote Monday!!!!

  2. Town Meeting did not vote for just removing the D’s and R’s from a ballot, They voted down Partisan Politics. Why can’t the HDTC stay out of our town electitions like we asked and just focus on the State and Federal ones. When I got that flyer in the mail, I decided then, not to put a check against any name on that list.

  3. “Endorsed and ready to step up”
    Just like holly morand who resigned after a year and Munroe who only shows up to SC meetings 45% of the time at best?! I’m not even going to mention the out of town alcoholic that they endorsed and we all subsequently elected. What exactly does this endorsement mean and why should we trust it anymore? If anything it seems like you should vote for whoever they are not endorsing. Take this list as a list of who you should NOT vote for. Have you been following the actions of the entire SB this year who are all HDTC endorsed members?! Wake-up call everyone

    • Hi Anonymous – I only had a two year term (I was elected to complete the term of a SC member that resigned months earlier). I resigned 6 months early because I was offered my dream job which was a conflict of interest to remaining on the SC according to the state ethics board. I chose my career, my family, and our long-term future to the 6 months remaining on my term.

      My seat was filled by appointment by a former SC member very quickly after I left.

      In my year and a half on the SC, I missed one meeting. I was on three subcommittees. I brought a SEPAC policy to the table, I added mental health to our absence policy, and I advocated strongly (by myself) for a climate study of our staff, which was worked on over the past school year. Not one thing I did was dictated by any group aside from the families and teachers in this community – as they are the stakeholders of the SC.

      If you’d ever like to talk about my time on the SC, please reach out. I am pretty easy to find.

      • Friday Night Delusions of Attendance Grandeur- I probably missed 3 or 4 meetings – not one. It’s been a long week.

  4. A copy of that poster and their statement needs to be emailed to Secretary of State Galvin’s office to be checked for legality. Looks like electioneering to me. If anyone is seen with that ‘cheat sheet’ inside a polling station a complaint should be immediately be made to the onsite polling supervisor or clerk. God these people are disgusting in that they will stop at nothing….

  5. To paraphrase Niccolo Machiavelli: The end justifies the means. By any way possible the HDTC is bent on retaining power and control of town and we need a more balanced solution. We need to stop the tax and spend, (or should that be spend then tax?).

  6. So, walk me through how this is cheating/illegal/unethical (I’ll take one)? I note the phrase: “Be sure to just use the list privately in the voting booth and not flash it around…” Seems like reasonable advice on a Facebook group called “Hopkinton Democratic Town Committee,” which presumably is directed to people interested in voting for Hopkinton Democrats.

    I greatly appreciate the investigative news that Hopnews provides- especially when I drive by the LNG tanks and see the gas lamps, but this whole piece feels to me like “Fair and Balanced” innuendo “news.”

    • Thank you for your comment, Mr. Schmidt.

      To be clear, the story was reported accurately. It was fact-based and absent of innuendo. To your point, the user comments veered off in a different direction, as sometimes happens with these things.

      When reached by telephone today, Town Clerk Connor Degan confirmed that the piece, if displayed in any way – a voting booth, left on the ground, within 150 feet of the building – would constitute electioneering. In past elections, Mr. Degan has been very strict about this type of thing, even going so far as to make some voters turn their shirts inside out if they had an influential message on them.

      What stood out to this reporter is the inclusion of the phrase “because campaign materials are not allowed at the polling station”. While that statement is inaccurate (as reported above) it raises the question as to why the HDTC would advise voters to bring material “not allowed at the polling station”.

  7. So first you want the party affiliation off the ballot. Ok fine. But now voters can’t bring a reference? Ridiculous. Oh we CAN bring a reference but it can’t be the one that the democrats sent out. Got it.

    I recommend that people take a photo of the sheet in question with their phone to bring to the ballots if they haven’t voted already.


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