When you go to vote, there shouldn’t be religious imagery anywhere. Even if you vote inside of a church, there are rules about what can and cannot be displayed. The reason is fairly obvious. Allowing such imagery is a way for churches to pressure you against voting for a candidate whose politics may go against church doctrine. Are you really going to vote for the pro-choice candidate? How about after you see THIS CROSS?!
But in Philadelphia, there’s been a problem even at secular polling places with workers keeping a copy of the Bible out for everyone to see.
Having a Bible at all isn’t the issue. Poll workers are sworn in to begin their day, and they might want to bring their own Bible for that purpose, but after that, it’s supposed to be put away. Last year, there were issues when voters noticed bibles right on the table where they signed in to vote. In November, the city instituted new rules that said bibles had to be put away after the oath. It didn’t help.
And now it’s happening again.
Philadelphia Weekly notes that a voter named Veronica noticed a Bible out on the table, and when she raised the issue with poll workers, things got testy.
It appears the poll workers have grown frustrated with the repeated conversations as well. When Veronica went to vote on Nov. 5 at Ward 18, Division 15 and asked again about the Bibles, she was met with resistance. In a video she shared with PW, a poll worker can be seen approaching her, getting increasingly irate and demanding to not be filmed.
Veronica alleged that one poll worker “assaulted me, hit me and grabbed at my phone.” While the video cuts do not show a confrontation between Veronica and the poll worker, the worker is heard telling Veronica that she’s going to “shove that phone up her ass.”
The Bible shouldn’t be on the table. Those poll workers should be fired — or at least never allowed to work on Election Day again. And state officials need to step in since their previous attempts at correcting this problem have failed. This isn’t a theocracy and a religious book has no place on the same table where you get your “I Voted” stickers. That would be obvious if this were a Qur’an instead of a Bible.
It’s not a hard rule to follow and it’s not a form of persecution to ask government workers, even temporary ones, to keep elections secular.
How many times do citizens need to point out the problem before the state resolves it?
(Featured image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)