A West Pasco church that serves as a voter precinct came under fire Tuesday for a sign placed at the entrance to its driveway.
Grace of God Church in New Port Richey is precinct 34. As voters dropped in to cast their votes, the first sign they saw pulling onto the site said, "Don't vote for Democrats on Tuesday and sing 'Oh How I love Jesus' on Sunday."
Grace of God church/polling station in New Port Richey is getting heat on Facebook for this sign posted at the entrance to their drive. Some FB commenters are claiming “voter intimidation” but @votepasco says they’re legal if not within 100 feet of the door. @wusf #wusfvotes https://t.co/LLAFBh7Dhv
— Daylina Miller (@DaylinaMiller) November 6, 2018
The church's official Facebook page posted a picture the sign Tuesday morning with the caption "Sign says it all." By 3:45 p.m., the post had garnered nearly 500 comments, most of which blasted the church's support of the sign, accusing the church of "voter intimidation," and ostracizing Christians who vote Democrat.
Pastor Al Carlisle defended the sign, writing that "Wrong..Gods dedicated property does not change on the first Tuesday of Nov every two years. It is in the same vain as our marques that is used to share a message. I'll risk losing our 501-3C and honor our sacred rights to free speech."
Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley added his own comment to the post, saying that because the church posted the sign more than 100 feet away from the polling station's front door, he couldn't legally force removal. But, he said, the "inappropriate behavior" would force him to reconsider Grace of God Church as a polling station for the next election.
At about 1:45 p.m., the sign appeared to have been removed from the property.
Corley confirmed that the church won't be used as a polling station going forward, but that he estimates it'll cost taxpayers $3,000 to $5,000 to change locations, add legal notices in the newspaper and send out new precinct information to voters.