YouTube, PBS urge people to record voting

/ Source: The Associated Press

If voters see problems on Election Day, YouTube and PBS want them to whip out their video cameras and throw the footage onto a new Web site for documenting voters' experiences on Nov. 4.

But the organizations also have a stern warning for overzealous would-be documentarians: Be careful of state laws about filming in or near polling places or you might wind up tossed out or in handcuffs.

PBS and YouTube, Google Inc.'s popular free video-sharing site, have rolled out a new channel on YouTube for cataloguing the short videos voters are encouraged to make about their own experiences or others' in casting their ballots.

The best clips will air on PBS.

The "Video Your Vote" site encourages voters to "document the energy and excitement, as well as any problems you may see" and upload videos between 30 seconds and three minutes long. The site also has links to PBS programs on YouTube and interviews with election experts.

Some problems people are encouraged to look out for include excessively long lines, glitches with voting machines or "overly aggressive" voter identification procedures.

The site also links to documents from the Citizen Media Law Project outlining problems that might come from trying to record the voting process.

For example, Florida, Georgia and Michigan prohibit photos and recording equipment in polling places, while in some other states the law is unclear, according to the group. Other laws restrict activities outside the polling place in designated "buffer zones," which are typically 100 feet from the entrance or interior voting area.