The school is going to great lengths to make voting as convenient as possible. You can vote by mail or by dropping in to business manager Cindy Callies's office at the high school. Callies and Madison Education Foundation exec Monica Campbell will also have ballots handy "at many events and community locations prior to the election." Callies will even arrange to bring ballots to your place of employment so you can get all of your employees to vote.
Wait a minute. I'm all for universal enfranchisement. I'm all for absentee ballots. But voting at "school events" and other "community locations"? How do we arrange poll-watchers for this kind of everywhere, anytime voting?
This activity falls safely within the rules for absentee voting. I know in 2008 when I was out walking for Obama and other Dems, we could offer to deliver absentee ballots for interested voters.... Update: but as I review the Secretary of State's guidelines on absentee balloting, I am reminded that the only time we did that was in case of voters who were homebound by sickness or disability who would authorize a messenger in writing to convey their ballots.
But if the school district is organizing voting at events and workplaces, the school might want to take a look at SDCL 12-18-3, which governs electioneering and other conduct at polling places:
12-18-3. Electioneering, offices, distracting communications devices, and signature gathering prohibited near polling place--Violation as misdemeanor. Except for sample ballots and materials and supplies necessary for the conduct of the election, no person may, in any polling place or within or on any building in which a polling place is located or within one hundred feet from any entrance leading into a polling place, maintain an office or public address system, or use any communication or photographic device in a manner which repeatedly distracts, interrupts, or intimidates any voter or election worker, or display campaign posters, signs, or other campaign materials or by any like means solicit any votes for or against any person or political party or position on a question submitted or which may be submitted. No person may engage in any practice which interferes with the voter's free access to the polls or disrupts the administration of the polling place, or conduct any petition signature gathering, on the day of an election within one hundred feet of a polling place. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
I know the county courthouse takes the sanctity of the polling place seriously. I walked into the auditor's office once with a campaign t-shirt on. Absentee voting was going on in the office next door. The gals in the auditor's office immediately told me I had to cover up that shirt.
If the school district intends to establish polling places at concerts, ball games, and various workplaces around town, they had better ensure the integrity of the vote. If the school district is handing out ballots for people to mark at basketball games, they had better be on the P.A. system before the game alerting everyone that state law prohibits any discussion of the school bond election, pro or con.
Arguably, the school may have to ban Bulldog jackets, buttons, and signs at school events where voting is offered. If the "Vote Yes for MHS Committee" adopts any MHS logos or slogan for its campaign, if they adopt school colors maroon and gold for their advertising, then the presence of such school paraphernalia at polling places could well qualify as electioneering that could sway votes.
Open voting is great, but the school will need to work to assure the public its rolling polling places satisfy South Dakota election law.
Possibly related: I learn from Monica Campbell that Jon Hunter is getting into webcasting with live streaming video from Madison Bulldog home basketball games on the MDL website, starting Thursday night. No word yet on whether the school district has designed an accompanying Web widget that will let listeners vote on the bond issue electronically.