D.C. Mayor Supports Obama a Little Too Aggressively

Slate ’s Josh Levin reports in with this dispatch:

As I left my apartment in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C., this morning, I passed a small group of vocal Obama supporters. Closer to my polling place, a neighborhood church, I spotted a more famous Obama supporter : D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty. The mayor extended his hand, smiled, and asked if I was going to vote. When I responded in the affirmative, he asked, “Barack Obama?” After saying something inarticulate like, “Uh, OK,” I went in and cast my ballot. By the time I emerged, Fenty had disappeared. That’s when I realized that the mayor had been standing directly between two signs that demarcated a no-electioneering zone. Which makes sense, considering that he was right in front of the church entrance.

For the legal sticklers out there, D.C. Code section § 1-1001.10(b)(1)(2)(A) says that, “No person shall canvass, electioneer, circulate petitions, post any campaign material or engage in any activity that interferes with the orderly conduct of the election within a polling place or within a 50-foot distance from the entrance and exit of a polling place.” And what’s Mayor Fenty’s likely punishment? ” A person who violates the provisions of this paragraph shall, upon conviction, be fined not less than $50 or more than $500 or imprisoned for not more than 30 days, or both.”  

Fenty’s press secretary, Dena Iverson, told me that the mayor would be out all day today encouraging District residents to vote for Obama . When told that the mayor had been encouraging this reporter right next to a pair of “no electioneering” signs, Iverson sighed, “Oh, great.” She continued, “The only other polling place I saw him at, he was doing it outside the signs. I will make sure he will not accidentally cross any lines he’s not supposed to.”