Yet another in my growing collection of “Hair for Change.” These shots will never, ever cease to amaze me. (And this is one of the better cuts. Props to reader/blogger Anovelista.) This is like when Spike Lee’s “X” came out and dudes had Xs carved in their heads. Or the tri-colored Africas or their names. Obama’s face in your head is the new cornrows, ya’ll!
That said I wanted to address an issue that keeps coming into my inbox. The “can I vote if I have my ‘Yes We Can’ pin on?” Snob answer?
Yes you … maybe.
We’ve got 50 states and everyone deals with what they consider to be campaign solicitation differently. Like in Wisconsin and Florida? Go nuts. Go vote dressed as Obama. Wear a suit spotted with nothing but Obama campaign rising sun symbols. Others, like Texas … um, leave the hat at home.
It took FOREVER to do the research. Thank God the folks at Positively Barack did the bulk of it for me four days ago.
Laws against campaigning or “electioneering” in and around polling places are pretty much universal, though each state boasts its own specific regulations and varying degrees of enforcement.
The majority of states use language prohibiting voters and poll workers from “distributing,” “circulating,” “posting,” or “exhibiting” campaign materials within 10 to 200 feet of polling places. This is sometimes interpreted as including buttons, t-shirts, hats, and other political garb (often called “passive electioneering”), but is more often restricted to signs, posters, fliers, pamphlets, and the like.
At least 10 states — Delaware, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont — explicitly prohibit the wearing of pins, buttons, stickers, labels, or other “political insignia.” (via UrbanLegends.About.com)
Personally, I don’t think a T-shirt should count as electioneering. Nor this dude’s stupid haircut. Nor “a hat.” (Free speech! It’s my other religion!) And I’m pretty sure if I asked the ACLU they’d agree with me that these rules were solely created to frustrate overly enthusiastic voters.
But if you want to make sure you’re not breaking any rules when you go vote contact your local elections office. They don’t make this info easy for you to find. (I was about to go through each state and territory’s poll worker instruction manuals until I found that site. That’s how much I almost cared. Feel special!) But your local elections office/voter’s information peeps SHOULD be able to answer this question for you. Until then, I think I may kick off a 50 state strategy to remove that HIGHLY unnecessary rule from every state. Anyone who feels pressured by an “Original Mavericks” pin doesn’t deserve the right to vote.
Also, don’t ask people who they’re voting for when you get to the polling station. That’s illegal too, but that one actually makes sense to me. I don’t need some busy body all up in mine asking me about my secret ballot. Bill of Rights! My other other religion.
Also a must read: Icebergslim’s The Mother of All Voter Registration Diaries on DailyKos