Is it illegal to vote while wearing anything endorsing a candidate?

This gluge showed up in my email:

Is it true? Is there really such a law and is it enforced?

All caps: Check!
Poor punctuation choices: Check!
Spelling errors: Check!
Multiple explanation points: Check!!!


Actually, it might be. I know they can’t poll people within a certain distance of, well, the polls.

I can’t say for sure. Around here it IS against the law to “campaign” within 25 feet of a polling place, and the people who pass out literature, wear buttons, etc. are careful to stand outside of that line.

I could see a poll worker being upset enough if you showed up at the polls to vote covered in bumper stickers of your favorite candidate to say that constitutes “campaigning” and telling you to go home and change clothes.

I’m pretty sure it’s true, but I could be wrong.

Going by memory, I believe it’s the poll workers who are prohibited from wearing anything supporting any candidate.

Depends what your local laws are.

Here in DC, the typical election goodies are not allowed into the polling place. Election workers here are told to have people remove buttons, hats, etc. No clue what they’d do if someone were wearing an Obama t-shirt, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in my precinct they would send the voter home to change.

We had this thread a couple of months ago. I can’t find it by searching; maybe somebody else can. It seems to depend on how rabid the polling workers are. If you walk in with a discreet button, you might pass; if you’re wearing a t-shirt, you might have to go out, turn it inside-out and come back before they’ll let you in.

The thread also mentioned somebody who put a campaign sign in his window which was very visible to a polling place, and either got cited for it, or was worried he might.

ETA: This makes me wonder what happens if I have a bumper sticker – or many bumper stickers – on my car promoting my candidate, and park very close to the poll entrance. Some people leave those things on for years. I can’t see them making me remove a single bumper sticker, but if I’ve chosen to put 10 of them on the side of my van?

From here:

Here in Minnesota, at the last election, when I went to polls with a political button that I had been wearing on my coat for weeks. I didn’t even remember that I was wearing it. But a poll worker came up to me and asked that I remove it or cover it while in the polling place.

But I have had bumper stickers on my car in the parking lot outside the polling place, with no problem. Though I don’t think there are any poll workers out there to notice them.

We often have political lawn signs placed in yards near the polling place, We always ask the homeowner to cover those signs on Election Day (though they sometimes use a lace tablecloth or a thin, threadbare sheet that you can nearly see through). That’s not required by law any longer, but people expect it, and get annoyed by any campaigning near the polling place. Same thing with ads and phone calls – the ones we do on Election Day or the night before are only reminders to get out and vote – any ‘campaigning’ ads tend to be resented by voters.

In Michigan the law says no campaign materials within a hundred feet of any doorway used by voters to enter the building where the polling place is located. This is mostly to keep solicitors with brochures from mobbing voters walking into the building. A bumper sticker on your car while you pop in and vote? Not against the regulations. A dozen bumper stickers plastered on the side of your van, and parked there all day? We’d ask you to move your vehicle at least 100 feet away.

Precinct inspectors will not send any voter away because they are carrying or wearing campaign material. All we will do is ask you to remove or cover all campaign buttons or clothing, and toss or put away literature. Turning a T-shirt inside out would be fine.

During the August primary some guy came in to vote wearing a shirt with some slogan or other. He taped a sheet of paper over it before walking into the polling area; that was sufficient.

My $.02: When I was in elementary school I wore a “Vote Yes” t-shirt (my mother is a school employee) and they made me turn it inside out since the school was a voting precinct.

You can’t poll with a certain distance of the voting booth, that is what they told me.

My friend asked, “What if I just start screaming, ‘Vote George Bush’”, and I said, I just don’t know exactly what will happen, but it is illegal to do that.

My new roommate was also in line, reading the Clinton pamphlet handed to him, and the voting people told him, “Hey, you, put that away while you’re in line.”

It’s pretty simple really, don’t hassle the people while they’re voting. Don’t enter the curtain, don’t poke them in the ribs just before, and don’t nag them while in line.

Yeah, you want to support your candidate, and if he’s on your shirt, maybe you don’t want to undress. But thems are the rules. I know, if you personally don’t jump up and down and wave a banner, people might vote for the wrong guy, and where will we all be in that case.

But the general plan is – chill.

In the 1984 presidential elections, they made the students remove the various campaign stickers that were on their lockers in the school I went to in Rockwall, TX, because it was a polling station.

My father-in-law got very angry about a sign posted near a polling place. It said “VOTE AQUÍ” and he thought this Aquí fellow was doing some illegal electioneering.

They were talking about this on the radio this morning. Basically, you can wear whatever you want to support your candidate. What you cannot do is call attention to it within 150 feet (I think) of the polling place with the intent to campaign.

So wear an Obama shirt? Fine. Shout “Vote for change vote for change vote for change” as you’re standing in line? Not fine.

I wish more states that subscribed to the “no political crap on clothes” rule. Ballots are secret and private for a reason. I’m a progressive living in an extrordinarily conservative community and the idea that…

Look, I don’t know how to say this, exactly, but there are (supposedly) places on this planet where men with guns check over marks on a ballot and a bad result is significantly more “impressive” than a bad grade in math class.

To me, a free vote is almost sacred and any pressure to infringe upon my duty as a citizen - anything that infringes on my only “real” job - undermines the entire purpose of our republic.

Isn’t part of that freedom wearing what you want whenever you want without interference from the government? Nobody’s forcing you to wear any particular T-shirt. And nobody’s checking to make sure that the T-shirts match up with the ballots.

I think that Snopes tackled this one not too long ago.

A number of years ago, a pollworker barred me from entering the polling location until I had removed and hidden my major-league-baseball-team cap, because the ballot included a question about whether to give public funds to a stadium construction project, and my cap could be construed as lending support to the measure. (Doesn’t matter that I had been planning to, and did, vote against it.)

Based on the responses so far, I suspect that the best answer is “the rules are somewhat open to interpretation depending on the individual.” I can certainly confirm from experience that they were strictly applied in my case.

They’d probably just ask you to turn the shirt inside-out. From the Electioneering in DC Polling Places update: