A poll worker was let go from her position for reportedly saying "God bless you" to voters in Derry, New Hampshire, when they came to cast their ballots during recent election cycles.
Ruth Provencal was terminated from her ballot clerk position after issuing the greeting, most recently, during primary voting on September 9 and was subsequently not invited to work at the polls for the general election on Tuesday, according to the Eagle-Tribune.
Renee Routhier, who chairs Derry's Supervisors of the Checklist, informed Provencal of the decision last week, basing on the fact that state law bars election employees from speaking about faith or politics at the polls.
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While Routhier accused Provencal of consistently breaking the rules in past elections, the former poll worker has a very different story, claiming that she had merely said "God bless you" a few times after a voter sneezed.
"She was saying, 'God bless you' to people who were out to vote," the government official claimed. "We have to be very careful what we do at the polls."
Provencal believes that the regulation of her words and her removal constitute a crackdown on free speech, claiming that she was both "insulted and taken aback" when she received a call about the decision to no longer allow her to work at the polls, the Eagle-Tribune reported.
"I didn't know there was a law against what you could say," Provencal said.
But Routhier specifically accused her of saying "God bless you" after people voted. And that's not all. She also said that Provencal "talks politics" and tries to exert influence on voters' polling decisions.
Provencal is pushing back against her removal, though the Eagle-Tribune noted that it is illegal for election workers to attempt to influence voters at the polls; it is unclear if she is guilty of this infraction.
At this point it is a battle of words, with two very different accounts of what unfolded. Provencal contacted local officials to discuss the case, but it's currently unclear what will happen next.
(H/T: Daily Mail)
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