Pre-Marked Sample Ballots Stoke Voter Complaints
INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. - Rick Grubb votes in every election but when he cast his early ballot about a week ago in Indian Trail, he came across something he'd not seen before. "As I was coming out, I was looking at the sample ballot and it looked like some of the candidates were marked on the ballot. As I looked further, it was only the Democrats," he says.
Grubb had been handed a pre-marked sample ballot by an Obama/Biden campaigner. It's designed to clearly show voters which candidates the party supports. Both Dems and Republicans use these pre-marked sample ballots. It's perfectly legal and a popular campaign tool. "It has been for the past few elections, yes," says Union County Board of Elections Director John Whitley. He says the pre-marked sample ballots do illicit complaints. "Yes...people complain. If a person wants to file a formal complaint, they can come to our office and fill out a formal complaint."
There are two instances where the pre-marked sample ballot is illegal: one, if it's not clearly marked as a sample ballot and two, if you receive it inside the "no campaigning zone."
Grubb says his was clearly marked and he got it outside the zone. Legal, yes. "Is it unethical? I think so. To try to use a voting place where people should have the right to go in and choose the candidates they want to without being given a document with the candidates already selected for them? I think it's unethical," says Grubb.