Did Bill Clinton violate election rules in Mass.?
Bill Clinton’s presence inside a polling location in Boston on Super Tuesday raised concerns about whether the former president violated state rules on election campaigning.
While stumping for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton entered a polling station at the Holy Name Parish School’s gymnasium in West Roxbury early Tuesday.
It was there that he spoke with workers, bought a cup of coffee, and apparently took a photo with one woman, according to press pool reports.
A video clip showing Bill Clinton shaking hands with election clerks at Holy Name, alongside Mayor Martin J. Walsh, had some people on Twitter questioning the former president’s appearance indoors.
“Aren’t there rules about electioneering at the polling location?” one person wrote on Twitter, after seeing the video.
“How is this legal?” a second person asked on social media.
Secretary of State William F. Galvin told the New York Times that he had to remind election workers that “even a president can’t go inside and work a polling place.”
“He can go in, but he can’t approach voters,” Galvin said. “We just took the extra precaution of telling them because this is not a usual occurrence. You don’t usually get a president doing this.”
According to the Election Day Legal Summary on Galvin’s website, certain activities on Election Day are prohibited within polling locations and within 150 feet of polling places, including the “solicitation of votes for or against, or any other form of promotion or opposition of, any person or political party.”
Bill Clinton had also been inside the Newton Free Library, a polling station in Newton, on Tuesday, after greeting supporters outside.
A spokesman from Galvin’s office said Hillary Clinton’s campaign had been “notified” of the state rules.
“We have heard about it, and the clerks have been instructed and the campaign has been instructed that 150 feet is the rule,” said Brian McNiff, a spokesman for Galvin’s office.
Bill Clinton seemed determined during his stop in Boston to stay in line.
When one woman asked for a photo with him in West Roxbury, he replied, “As long as we’re not violating any election laws,” according to a pool report.
An official from Walsh’s office said the duo was not campaigning inside of the polling location, however.
“President Clinton joined Mayor Walsh to thank poll workers in West Roxbury this morning,” said spokeswoman Bonnie McGilpin.
Bill Clinton also made a stop in New Bedford to greet a large crowd of voters Tuesday.