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Dress code to vote: What not to wear to the polls | Radio WGN 720

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(NEXSTAR) – An outfit might not be the first thing most people think of before heading to the polls, but one misstep in dressing could jeopardize their vote.

All states have some restrictions regarding in-person voting, and most states have rules regarding active campaigning within a certain distance of a polling place. Some states, however, have extended this rule to include a dress code.

In California, for example, the election ban within 100 feet of polling places includes hats, shirts and buttons. The Golden State is one of 21 states whose statutes prohibit election attire at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The others are:

  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • Caroline from the south
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont

Prohibited clothing items vary by state, but include buttons, hats, shirts, stickers, and other clothing.

“…a person may not wear any badge, badge, emblem, or other similar communication device relating to a candidate, measure, or political party listed on the ballot, or the conduct of the election, in the polling place”, Law of Texas States.

That’s right, in nearly half of the US states, those T-shirts emblazoned with candidates’ faces or campaign slogans would be considered election propaganda or an attempt to sway someone’s vote. State laws vary regarding how far a person must be from a polling place during an election campaign – in Alabama it’s 30 feet from the gate, while in Iowa it’s 30 feet from the gate. is 300 feet away.

Breaking the rules can result in more than an unnecessary trip to the polls, depending on what state you live in.

In Kansas, for example, campaigning is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail or up to $500 in fines.

It’s always a good idea to check your local voting guidelines before you go to the polls. Some states like Maine, where campaign clothing is not allowed, have exceptions — buttons that “do not exceed 3 inches and are worn by persons at the polling station solely for the purpose of voting” are permitted.