Tuesday, November 2

Judge rules for news organizations over poll access in Ohio

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Exit polling can be conducted within 100 feet of a polling place on Election Day, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson's ruling on Monday night overturned an October directive by Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to prohibit exit polling within 100 feet of precincts.

Five television networks - ABC, CNN, CBS, Fox News and NBC - and The Associated Press had sued on Monday, seeking a temporary order to block Blackwell's directive that limited the exit-poll surveys, even though there had been no prior problems.

"Polling activities such as these have been conducted in this manner for over two decades," Watson wrote in his nine-page ruling. "There is no evidence before the court that these activities have ever impinged on a citizen's right to vote."

Betty Hull, spokeswoman for the secretary of state, said Tuesday that Blackwell would abide by the ruling.

The news organizations have formed a consortium to collect exit-polling data in Ohio and other states. The organizations said Blackwell's prohibition would have hindered their ability to gather information about the political process and would violate constitutional guarantees of free speech.

*starship troopers voice* "Would you like to know more?"


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