No formal policy on polling place signs

Oct 15, 2012

During the May 8 primary elections, some voters arriving at Devon Park Methodist Church questioned the message on the church’s sign that said: “A TRUE MARRIAGE IS MALE AND FEMALE AND GOD.”

Amanda Greene of Wilmington Faith and Values checks in with the New Hanover County elections board to see if it adopted a good faith agreement for rented polling place locations -- including churches.

Marvin McFadyen, New Hanover board of elections director, says no formal policy was adopted. 

At its June meeting, the board decided the church’s sign was legally outside the electioneering buffer zone and it discussed adopting a good faith agreement without impeding the free speech rights of polling places.   Since then, McFadyen says he’s been assured the situation will not be repeated but if a similar event happens again, a good faith agreement could be added to contracts with rented polling places.

By the numbers, New Hanover has the highest percentage of worship spaces serving as polling places in the tri-county area.  Out of 43 polling places, 12 are churches. In Pender County, 2 out of 20 polling spots are churches.  And in Brunswick, out of 23 polling places, one is a church.