BANGOR — Most people know you can’t campaign too close to the polls, but can you be turned away for wearing clothing with political slogans?
You always want to be dressed for the occasion.
If you’re going out for Halloween, almost anything is fair game.
If you’re going to the polls, you might want to put some extra thought into your outfit.
“You know the law says you can wear a three-inch button, a three-inch diameter button that says vote for Abraham Lincoln or George Washington or something like that,” explained Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap.
Other than that, voters aren’t supposed to wear shirts, hats or other attire endorsing a candidate.
Dunlap said it’s a hard rule to enforce.
“The warden will make those decisions. If somebody complains about a warden saying somebody wearing, you know, a campaign t-shirt, and they can’t wear that at the polls and they have to leave and go change their shirt before they vote,” Dunlap said. “If they call us and complain, we’ll simply tell them that’s the warden’s judgment and it is what the law says.”
The Bangor city clerk Lisa Goodwin says this isn’t a problem they have to deal with often.
“We would ask them to cover it up. We don’t turn people away from the polls,” Goodwin said. “If people are just mindful and respectful, there won’t be any problems.”
Dunlap said since they’re encouraging people to wear masks, ones with political slogans will be treated as buttons.
“We just ask that people be respectful of their neighbors and the sanctity of the polling place,” Dunlap said. “People are there to vote. They aren’t there to campaign.”
Dunlap says while voters might get some leeway on their clothing choices; candidates will not.