Libraries as Voting Sites Policy
As an important public institution in our democratic society the Nashville Public Library is pleased to host election polling for Nashville and Davidson County at designated library locations. The library is committed to ensuring our community’s access to library services and the safety of library users in our buildings and on library premises during polling. During political campaigning and when the library is selected as an early, regular, runoff or fail safe, voting site, the following policy will apply to all library locations and voting sites.
- Organizations or individuals may not set up a booth, information table or collection/donation station, staffed or unstaffed, in a library facility or on library property. This includes, but is not limited to, voter registration booths and promotional or public service activities by organizations. Groups or individuals may not distribute literature or other material except in accordance with this policy. (This also includes tents of any kind.)
- Political materials addressing individual candidates for public office or ballot issues may only be displayed in designated areas created in library facilities prior to an election. Space permitting, these areas will be determined by library managers at least sixty (60) days prior to an election. Any library location designated as an early, regular, runoff or fail safe voting site will have all political material removed prior to voting.
- Campaign or ballot issue signage may be posted on library property that has been designated an official voting site for early, regular, runoff or fail safe voting on the day(s) of an election. The library will designate areas(s) on the library property on which these signs may be placed. Signs may not exceed 36” x 36” in dimension. The dimension applies to both length and width (neither dimension may exceed 36”). Signs remaining after the election will be removed and held for pick up the day after the election. All signs must be claimed and removed within 5 days after the official voting day(s) or they will be discarded.
- Signs not in compliance with this policy will be removed and discarded immediately.
- Petitions of any kind are not permitted in library facilities. Library managers may designate areas outside of library facility entrances for public petitioners that do not impede access to the library or establish a harassing environment for library users.
- Poll watchers and Davidson County Election Commission staff, not library staff, will apply and enforce rules consistent with the State of Tennessee and Davidson County Election Commission including the 100 foot campaign free zone surrounding polling sites.
- Because the Nashville Public Library wishes to avoid any appearance, no matter how slight, of impropriety or impression of political preference, filming related to political campaigns or to partisan issues is not permitted in library facilities.
Nashville Public Library, Board, March 20, 2015
Resolution Title: Separating Libraries as Voting Sites Policy from Display and Distribution of Non-Library Materials Policy and Filming and Photography Policy
History/Background/Discussion: March 15, 2011 the Library Board approved an updated version of the Display and Distribution of Non-Library Materials Policy (please see attached). Contained within that policy are rules addressing what can and cannot be displayed on library property. Some of the rules address political campaigns or ballot issues in whole or in part. Specifically addressing these areas are Rules 17 – 21 of the Display and Distribution of Non-Library Materials Policy and under Movie Industry within the Filming and Photography Policy. Currently we have 6 – 8 facilities that the Election Commission uses for either early, regular, runoff or fail safe voting sites. The Library wishes to have those rules that pertain to voting sites be separated into one standalone policy.
Recommendation: That the Board adopts a new policy that separates the rules pertaining to political campaigns, ballot issues and polling places into a new standalone “Polling Place, Petitioning and Political Campaign Policy” (please see attached) and the Display and Distribution of Non-Library Materials Policy and Filming and Photography Policy be revised to reflect the rules pertaining to Voting Sites are taken out. Draftor(s): Susan Drye, Associate Director for Administrative Services Person(s) Responsible for Implementation: Susan Drye, Larry Price, Jena Schmid and Andrea Fanta
Polling Place, Petitioning and Political Campaign Policy
WHEREAS, the library seeks to be a welcoming place for all those wishing to use its services, and
WHEREAS, library facilities will continue to be active early, regular, runoff and fail safe voting sites for Davidson County, and
WHEREAS, current library policy addresses more than voting site issues and in an effort to make policy pertaining to libraries as voting sites more concise and clear;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED by the Nashville Public Library Board of Trustees that the Polling Place, Petitioning and Political Campaign Policy and a revision to the Display of Non-Library Materials and Filming and Photography Policy be adopted and that library’s policy and procedures be revised to reflect this.