What not to wear: Voting Edition

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FILE – In this Sept. 8, 2020 photo, voting booths are kept socially distant at the Chesterfield, N.H. polling site. Democrats and Republicans are involved in hundreds of lawsuits across the country relating to the upcoming election. The lawsuits concern the core fundamentals of the American voting process, including how ballots are cast and counted.(Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Plan on heading out to the polls in your best getup with your candidate’s name or photo?

Be prepared to take it off. Or cover it up. Or go home and change.

That’s because Texas Statute 61.003 prevents electioneering, or campaigning within 100 feet of a polling station door. That includes “posting, use or distribution of political signs or literature” and wearing T-shirts, hats, badges, insignias, emblems or other communicative device relating to a candidate, measure or political party appearing on the ballot.

The reasoning is that a polling place should be neutral so all voters can feel comfortable voting for the candidate of their choice.

There are at least 19 states, including Texas and New Mexico, that have such a rule.

In New Mexico, Statute 1-20-16 prevents the “display or distribution of signs or campaign literature, campaign buttons, T-shirts, hats, pins or other such items and includes the verbal or electronic solicitation of votes for a candidate or question.”

Committing an electioneering offense is a petty misdemeanor and can result in a fine.

So, get out and do your civic duty — but watch what you’re wearing while you do it.

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