Poll site is too political; Art covered up on Election Day


By Lori Haught

Political art stood out behind the “Vote Here” signs at the Communication Workers of America office at 97 Hudson St.

“Polling places are supposed to be neutral,” said Peter Hort, former Republican candidate for Congress, who registered a complaint with the Board of Elections over the art found in his local polling place.

Hort said that this location has been his polling site for a number of years and this problem has happened repeatedly. This year the two most prominently featured political artworks included a poster of President Bush with tape over his mouth and the text, “got tape” and a poster with Uncle Sam stating, “So long, suckers! I quit! I’m tired of being the spokesperson for warmongering, racist, oil-hungry scum!”

Hort said his complaint was not against their political opinion but simply that it’s illegal to display overtly political artwork in a polling site.

“They can do whatever they want 364 days out of the year,” he said. “But in a poll setting, that’s an inappropriate poster.”

Hort said he originally complained to the poll workers when he went to vote at 8:39 a.m. He said the poll workers shrugged their shoulders and did nothing. He said he later called and registered a complaint with B.O.E. and the posters were then covered up.

At press time, Elections was unable to confirm or deny whether the complaint was on record, but a representative said they had no knowledge of political artwork being at any of the polling sites prior to Election Day.

Similarly, in the 2004 elections, the artwork in an exhibit on display at the Puffin Room, at 435 Broome St., a gallery space in Soho that for years had been used as a polling site, was deemed to be overtly political.