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Virginia Bans Campaign Apparel at Polls, Bad Ban on Buttons?

If you want to make a voting fashion statement on election day, you better check your state's election law. The Virginia board of elections just banned voters from wearing campaign apparel, including T-shirts, hats, and buttons, when they go vote on Nov. 4, a decision which is sure to cause some confusion.

The officials want to prevent polling places from being dominated by any candidate's supporters. They hope the ban will help voters cast their private ballots free of pressure or influence. The ACLU argued to the election board that the ban violates free speech.

Virginia is not alone in prohibiting campaign clothing inside polling places. Do you disagree with Virgina's stance that the rule is a necessary protection of the right to vote free of undue influence?


orleandean orleandean 8 years
I think this is wrong on many level's. First of all freedom of speech. Second would be our right to vote. Third would be, if someone is retarted enough to change their vote because of a t-shirt or button on the day of the election, they shouldn't be voting in the first place. I guess we are not allowed to speak to anyone around the polling place either?
WhatTheHuh WhatTheHuh 9 years
i am from virginia. on election day i am wearing an obama t-shirt that is in written in japanese (thank you, obama japan!) i won't let anyone keep me from being able to visually support my candidate up to, and out of, the polling place. campaign buttons have been around for eons--i even have an 'i like ike' one from my grandfather. intimidation is one thing--disallowing clothing supporting your candidate is another. there are likely more people where i live who would be more offended by a guy showing up in a dallas cowboys jersey...
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
What a ridiculous policy. What about freedom of speech? Like True Song, I don't think anyone will even know what my Chuck Baldwin shirt means. Maybe I'll wear my Ron Paul shirt, and really throw them for a loop. I'm in VA and my house isn't red, blue or purple, it's very green :)
sushibananas sushibananas 9 years
Land of the free. Home of the brave. Just not on the day we elect the President of our nation. No wonder people from other countries think Americans are a bunch of weirdos! ;p
longhornlass04 longhornlass04 9 years
Texas has already passed this policy. However, it's not widely known, and that's where the trouble lies. If you're going to pass something like this, then it should be as clearly stated as what is needed in order to vote like having proper identification. Anything that will slow the getting to the booth process is definitely a step in the wrong direction.
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
We have this rule in Texas and the politicians often remind people of it at their rallies and speeches.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 9 years
I think to eliminated all campaigning around polling areas that it does make sense to ask people to refrain from wearing polical attire when they are voting. However, this needs to be a rule that is widely distrubuted, because I fear this is just another way to "turn away" voters. Lets get real all voters aren't that informed on the "rules/regulations" and turning them away on some level just isn't fair. Unless you educate voters of the rules prior then you shouldn't be allowed to turn them away.
colormesticky colormesticky 9 years
Dumb. You aren't pressuring anyone to do anything. By the time people go to the polls to vote they should hopefully have made up their mind.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Lili, people are strange. (Not to offend your friends or family or anything!) I mean, I definitely agree that Virginia is kind of purple right now. (Especially depending on where in VA you are!) But, even if it did "turn blue," it happens. People need to not freak about things!
azulsky azulsky 9 years
Yes I disagree with VA election board. It's really unnecessary IMO and will be hard to enforce. Once you're in that booth no one knows who you're voting for. What's actually banned items with the candidates names, faces or slogans? What about Got Hope or Hockey Mom with no picture? Does this include spouses? Seems like they reacted without actually thinking or planning. My Michelle Rocks t-shirt is that considered campaigning, there's no mention of Obama on it. I just went to the Virginia State Board of Elections website and so far nothing is listed explaining the specifics.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
"I think that wearing a shirt for someone is not campaigning. Campaigning is trying to influence someone else's opinion. But wearing a shirt might just be to express your OWN opinion, and not necessarily an attempt to change someone else's opinion." Yep. This will be a nightmare to enforce, both for the people working the polling places, and the people who didn't realize campaign apparel are banned and get turned away, have to go home and change, and then come back to the line again. I filled out my absentee ballot in an Obama shirt.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
Good idea, ju.
juju4 juju4 9 years
I think that wearing a shirt for someone is not campaigning. Campaigning is trying to influence someone else's opinion. But wearing a shirt might just be to express your OWN opinion, and not necessarily an attempt to change someone else's opinion. How are they going to make sure that all members of the voting population are aware of this rule before heading to the polls? Some people just aren't as informed on the up to the minute information as we are. This is very scary stuff. My thoughts --- just wear red or blue on November 4th! They can't make you take it off, but you can still show off (in code) who you are voting for. :-)
stephley stephley 9 years
Honestly, I've never worn any buttons or t-shirts into my polling place - I was taught that it was ill-mannered at that point. Apparently, my mom was PC before PC was cool.
liliblu liliblu 9 years
lilkim I could introduce you to a couple of people who think the worlds coming to an end.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I definitely agree, lili. But, I don't think anyone is "freaking out" that Virginia may be going blue. It's definitely not unexpected.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
Thanks for the info MM :)
liliblu liliblu 9 years
I just wanted to add that VA is more purple than blue. There are some very conservative areas in VA. Northern VA is democratic country.
liliblu liliblu 9 years
This really annoys me. Why change the rules for this election? Radio stations have been telling people to just wear a regular shirt no matter what state you live in. Maryland residents can wear what they want.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
I got it online from Local Celebrity. There are tons of shirts out there with the saying, it was the one I liked the best. I wanted to get one where some of the proceeds would go to his campaign, but I didn't like any of those, they were too bland. So I'm trying to make up for it by wearing it everywhere I go like a walking campaign sign.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
MM where did you get your Barack the Vote shirt?
True-Song True-Song 9 years
First of all, this is not just in Virginia. It's also in Colorado and Kansas, I don't know about other states. Second, I think this completely sucks. I get no campaigning or electioneering at the polling place, but I can't wear a shirt or a button for any candidate or proposition I support? Not even a "Proud Democrat" shirt? That is ridiculous, and it seems to me a violation of the first amendment. I wear my green party t-shirt (it says Enjoy Civil Liberties in a mock up of the Enjoy Coca Cola logo) to every vote! It's my tradition. In most places they will ask you to cover up or take off the offending item, but technically it is a misdemeanor (this may vary by state) and you can be arrested (arrested!) for wearing a campaign item to the polls. That is ridiculous. Third, it's probably impossible to enforce. Can I wear a shirt that says "Yes We Can" or "Country First"? How about just an elephant or a donkey? What about something that says "Change"? Do you think half the poll workers would even notice if I wore a Baldwin/Castle button? (They're the Constitution Party candidates.) What if I take off my jacket once in my voteing booth to reveal a giant Michelle Obama face on the back of my shirt? Are they going to stop me in the middle of voting to deal with it? I blogged about this (which is where yy was talking about being a poll worker) after someone sent me an article about it. Even though it doesn't affect me directly, I am so upset about it! (
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
Like ima said, I get it, but it kind of rubs me the wrong way. It could be a free speech violation, but at the same time I see the importance of non harassment at the polls. Kind of a balancing act in this case. My Barack the Vote shirt came yesterday (finally!). My husband is threatening to get a Sarah Palin shirt in response...I think it would be funny if we each wear ours and walk around in public...sure to get a few looks!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Since Virginia has been leaning blue for some time now and the current governor is a Democrat, I doubt anyone is freaking out about Virginia going blue in the presidential election. I'm guessing they came out with the decision so no one could accuse anyone of unfairly influencing others. In my estimation, they probably aren't worried that others will actually be influenced; they are probably worried about accusations. And those outfits are hideous. I don't like anything with people's faces on it, though.
zeze zeze 9 years
Forgot to add: wth is up with those outfits - are people serious?
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