Poll watcher nametags with party ID irk some voters

Posted at: 11/01/2012 7:01 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Some New Mexico voters are troubled by something they're seeing at the polls when they go to cast their ballots - something the poll workers are wearing.

It's name tags - badges that contain a little too much information for some political appetites.

In Bernalillo County the badges give you the poll worker's name, their job title, and - here's the kicker - their political party, whether it's Democrat, Republican, independent, or what have you.

That gives voters like Arlena Dickerson a case of political heartburn.

"It bothers me, not because they're a Democrat or a Republican," said Dickerson. "But it bothers me because it can cause undue influence and make some people very uncomfortable."

Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver, the county's top election official, said the badges are intended to have the opposite effect.

"We are required by law to have a party balance," Toulouse Oliver said. "Having the party listed on the badge gives the voter and the public the information they need to visually confirm that there is that bipartisan balance."

"The addition of their party on their name tag is almost like a campaign," Dickerson said. "I still don't like it, whether it's in the statutes or not."

Dickerson points out that if you show up to vote in an Obama t-shirt or a Romney hat, they'll tell you to take it off.

She feels that way about those name tags.