VOTING WITH GOD…As we get around to fixing our still-broken voting system, here’s another aspect of the problem that perhaps hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.

According to a lawsuit filed today by the Appignani Humanist Legal Center:

“An Illinois member [of the American Humanist Association] voted in a church that displayed a four-foot wooden crucifix right above the election judges. Another member in California was confronted by a large marble plaque dedicated to the ‘unborn children’ who are ‘killed’ by abortion, and containing a quote from the Bible justifying the notion that the soul is alive in the womb. And a New York member voted in a room featuring large religious slogans on the wall behind the voting machines.”

It’s tempting to see this stuff as small potatoes, especially when we have so far to go to ensure that every vote is even recorded and counted at all. But according to a Stanford University study cited by the AHLC, environmental cues in polling places have a measurable and significant impact on electoral results. And if you’re going to ban signs from candidates in and around polling places, it’s hard to see the logic for allowing religious statements or images with obviously political implications. Could be an interesting case to watch.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation