The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Magazine named Chicago News Bench one of Chicago's best blogs in 2008. (It was called "Rogers Park Bench" at the time.)

"[Chicago News Bench] opines on Rogers Park and the 49th Ward in his fiery blog, His mix of cynicism and skepticism targets public figures such as Mayor Daley and Alderman Joe Moore." ~ The List: The best the Web has to offer Chicago, Chicago Magazine, Feb 2008

"Great example of hyperlocal news coverage" ~ Mark Josephson, CEO,

"The Bench is a terrific blog, covering issues from the national to the regional and very local (Rogers Park), and is a thumping good read." ~ Chicago Bungalow

February 27, 2007

Arrest Me: Photos of Voting Booths, Press Credential B.S.

The voting booths at 6301 North Sheridan are in plain view. Anybody walking into or out of the building can see someone as they vote, in fact they could stand there and see how they vote.

This is not legal; voting booths should be arranged so that the voting is private and unseen.

I walked up to the window and started taking pictures. Did you know that it illegal in the City of Chicago this year to photograph a voting booth, even if it not occupied? As I was taking photos, a guy in a jump suit came out and told me to stop.

"Why?" I asked him.

"That's not allowed," he said, "do you have press credentials?"

"Yes, I do," I said, "I'm a citizen and the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees a free press."

He didn't like my answer. "You gotta stop," he said, and started to get in my face.

"Tell you what," I said, "the same Constitution gives you the right to make a citizen's arrest. You want to arrest me? I won't resist." This seemed to flumox Mr. Jumpsuit. I took a few more photos and walked off, objective achieved.

The whole idea of "press credentials" is offensive. Chicago has required journalists to register for decades. It's a way for the city to control the press, make no mistake. As for the voting machines, what is the city trying to hide? What could possibly justify the no-photographs rule?

So here are some photographs by a journalist with no City of Chicago credentials, of voting booths that it is apparently illegal to photograph. Arrest me. Please arrest me. It would make a very interesting Supreme Court case, one I'd love to be involved in. Me and a few thousand bloggers and other citizen journalists. Ben Franklin had no "credentials," either.

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