After a district judge upheld on Tuesday state legislation barring voters from wearing campaign gear within 100 feet of a polling place, campus groups are planning ways to help students who are unaware of the law.
LSA junior Hannah Lieberman, the co-chair of Voice Your Vote, said the group’s volunteers would go to six campus precincts next Tuesday and hand out T-shirts to voters who wear campaign T-shirts to the polling place. Under the law, people aren’t allowed to wear clothing that advocates for a candidate or ballot initiative.
Along with the shirts, which would be used to cover the banned clothing, Voice Your Vote plans to distribute food and hot chocolate to student voters.
Lieberman said it would be hard to prevent people from wearing political gear on Election Day. She said students planning to wear campaign paraphernalia should bring a sweatshirt with them to the polls.
LSA junior Brady Smith, chair of the College Republicans, said he thinks the law is necessary and plans to reinforce the point with members of his group.
“It’s a very responsible provision,” Smith said.
Smith said he didn’t expect the law to be fully enforced on campus.
“I’d have to imagine there is an Obama sticker within 100 feet of East Quad, which is a polling place,” he said.
City Clerk Jacqueline Beaudry has instructed poll workers to watch for campaign paraphernalia on voters entering polling places. Workers have been told to require voters to remove campaign buttons and cover campaign T-shirts or turn them inside out.
LSA junior Nathaniel Eli Coats Styer, chair of the College Democrats, said he disagrees with the legislation, but his group is working to notify voters of the law.
“I think there is a clear difference between wearing a T-shirt to the polls and campaigning at the polls,” Styer said. “I think it’s wrong, but we’ve taken steps to make sure everyone can vote.”
Styer said the group is teaming with Voice Your Vote, a nonpartisan group, on Election Day to provide T-shirts to students wearing campaign gear to the polls. He said he didn’t see any problem with the College Democrats working with Voice Your Vote.
“They do their thing, we do our thing,” Styer said. “A lot of our members are members of Voice Your Vote, but we know when to take off our partisan hats.”