Wednesday, May 7

Who Knew a Tee Shirt Could Cause So Much Trouble

Yesterday as I searched the web for answers to a reader's voting question, I stumbled across another Hoosier who had an equally perplexing and disturbing experience at the polls. I'll let Gayla explain in her own words from her blog, Not Before Coffee:

As a fairly new voter - this being my third voting experience and second Presidential voting experience, I was unaware of the “rule” that you are not permitted to wear attire of any kind that supports your candidate.

In a loud and controlling tone, the [poll worker] informed me that I would have to “go to the restroom and turn my shirt wrong side out or leave the premises immediately.”

I looked at him, dumbfounded I’m sure and asked why I was not made aware of that rule? Where was that “rule” in all the voting material I’d received? Where was that “rule” on the voter registration website? Well, I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to find that “rule” and have yet to find anything on a rule as such that pertains to actual “voters” and not campaign volunteers, police or exit poll personnel.
Gayla did contact her local and state voter registration offices and Hillary Clinton's local headquarters and found out there was such a law in place...they just didn't know where to find it.
According to a comment left by Chris on Not Before Coffee,

It’s called electioneering. It’s a state law. Pretty much every state has them. But in Indiana “electioneering includes expressing support or opposition to any candidate or political party or expressing approval or disapproval of any public question in any manner that could reasonably be expected to convey that support or opposition to another individual.” Wearing a shirt with a candidates name on it, or even a political stance on something like war, could be considered electioneering in most states.

The fact that it’s slightly different for every state probably explains why the campaign office couldn’t point you in the specific direction. But the fact that just about every state has this law on their books makes them reasonably positive that the law does exist.

The kicker is that electioneering is considered a Class A misdemeanor. Oy.

When you walk in to sign in, you’re given a piece of paper that labels you Democrat or Republican. What does it matter if you’ve gone the step further to show your support?
So what did Gayla do after being confronted about her electioneering?

In case you are wondering, I did turn my shirt wrong side out. I cast my vote and then when I got in my truck, I took my shirt off - in front of God and everybody and turned it right side out.
Has anyone else seen this law enforced or even knew it existed? Crazy stuff!



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