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Voters Beware! Electioneering Prohibitions Apply to Voters

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28.Oct, 2016 Comments Off on Voters Beware! Electioneering Prohibitions Apply to Voters , Election Administration

Voters Beware! Electioneering Prohibitions Apply to Voters

In addition to examining a sample ballot and determining how they will vote, brining any necessary identification to the polls, and checking out their state’s rules regarding ballot selfies, voters in most states need to be careful what they wear to the polls.  Most states have prohibitions on electioneering (campaigning for or against a candidate or ballot question) in polling places and within a certain distance of a polling place.  But what most voters do not realize is that those prohibitions apply to them, the voter, equally as to campaign volunteers waving signs outside.

 

What does this mean for voters?  Do not wear anything that has a message that could be construed as being in favor of or opposition to a candidate or question on the ballot.  In most instances, the poll worker has the authority to determine what constitutes electioneering.  And the prohibition might be applied more broadly than a voter anticipates.  Two examples from early voting in Texas.

 

A voter was arrested for refusing to remove a political t-shirt:

A Donald Trump voter in Texas was arrested Monday for wearing a T-shirt to the polls that mocked Hillary Clinton’s infamous comment in which she said half of Trump supporters were “a basket of deplorables.”

Brett Mauthe, 55, was arrested in Bulverde, Texas after wearing a pro-Trump hat, and a T-shirt saying “basket of deplorables,” according to KSAT 12.

Mauthe told the outlet that while he removed the hat at the request of officials, he refused to turn his T-shirt inside out and said he was not aware that wearing it was a violation of the election code. When he refused to remove the shirt, he was arrested.

 

Voters in Arlington, where a question regarding funding of a new baseball stadium is on the ballot, are not allowed to wear Texas Rangers gear to the polls:

Texas Rangers fans may want to opt out of wearing team gear when casting their ballots in Arlington.

One voter told CBS11 she was told to turn her Rangers shirt inside out before officials allowed her into the booth.

Tarrant County election officials said there isn’t a hard and fast rule but it’s up to the election judge to make the decision.


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