No, You’re Not Allowed to Wear Political Clothing at Polls



By Jonathon Sadowski

October 16, 2020

Your constitutional right comes with responsibilities, including not broadcasting political views while waiting to vote.

If you vote in-person on Nov. 3, there’s one core tenet to keep in mind, according to Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney: “The main thing is don’t cause a disturbance. That’s sort of the overall principle of things.”

While voting is a constitutional right, that right comes with responsibilities. UpNorthNews spoke with Magney about what you can and can’t do when you go to cast your ballot.

Electioneering is the most common form of disturbance, Magney said. Electioneering can look different depending on how it’s done, but as a general rule it means engaging in activity that openly supports something at stake in the election such as a candidate, party, or referendum.

Voters are not allowed to discuss the candidates or issues while in line or try to convince others in line to vote a certain way, nor are they able to wear buttons or clothing in support of a certain position.

The rules against electioneering apply within the polling place and within 100 feet of the poll entrance.

Voters caught electioneering won’t be prohibited from voting or removed from the premises, but Magney said poll workers are told to essentially fast-track those voters to the polls to minimize the distraction to other electors.

“Nobody’s gonna say, ‘Go home and change your shirt,’” Magney said. “Nobody should be doing that, but expect that [poll workers] are gonna hustle you in and hustle you out as soon as possible.”

Magney added that bumper stickers or signs on someone’s vehicle in support of a candidate or position, even if parked within the anti-electioneering zone, should not be an issue as long as the voter leaves in their vehicle promptly after casting their ballot.

“What we tell poll workers is that if somebody shows up with candidate paraphernalia, don’t make a federal case of it,” Magney said. “Get them in, get them voting, get them out.”




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