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Did First Lady Michelle Obama Violate Illinois Election Law?

October 14, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama stopped in at the Martin Luther King Center on Chicago’s south side Thursday to cast her early vote for the upcoming November midterm elections. But reports from the scene suggest Mrs. Obama may have engaged in political discussion at the polling place — a big no-no according to state election law.

According to a flash story on the Drudge Report, Mrs. Obama finished casting her ballot and stopped to take pictures with residents. It was at this time that electrician Dennis Campbell, 56, says the First Lady inappropriately lobbied for support of her husband’s administration.

“She was telling me how important it was to vote to keep her husband’s agenda going,” Campbell said.

Drudge also points to another witness — a pool reporter — who says the entire conversation took place inside the voting center near the booths.

Illinois state law — Sec. 17-29 (a) — states: “No judge of election, pollwatcher, or other person shall, at any primary or election, do any electioneering or soliciting of votes or engage in any political discussion within any polling place, within 100 feet of any polling place.”

Responding to the report Thursday afternoon, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs reportedly defended the First Lady’s actions. “I don’t think it would be much to imagine, the First Lady might support her husband’s agenda,” Gibbs said.

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