UPDATE FOR MARYLAND: Passive Electioneering

I got this information of the the Maryland State Board of Elections regarding Passive Electioneering:

Electioneering -How far away from the polling place must I be to electioneer?

A line will be established by the election judges and you must be behind that line. The line will be located as near as practicable to 100 feet from the entrance and exit of the polling place.

However, a voter may wear campaign paraphernalia (buttons, t-shirts,
or stickers) into the polling place while he or she is there to vote (the voter may not linger in the polling place after voting).
An election judge, challenger and watcher, or other person stationed inside the polling place or within 100 feet of the polling place may not wear or display campaign materials.

I have probably received about 10+ copies of an email that is going around warning me to not wear my campaign gear to the voting booth on November 4th because it is "illegal" to do so and I will, consequently, not be allowed to vote. Usually, I delete messages of this type because 99% of the time they are a email hoax and/or have a tiny bit of truth surrounded by a whole lot of lie.

Since this election is going to be a very important one, I decided to investigate further and see if I can find out some truth. First place I usually go to get some background on these type of emails is snopes.com. It is a pelthora of fact finding information behind all of these email scams that are going around. You will find out what part is true and what part is false.

I've looked this email up and it is TRUE & FALSE. The bottom line is (according to the website):

Election laws and regulations in the U.S. typically prohibit the practice of "electioneering" (actively supporting a candidate, political party, or issue) within or near polling places. Such rules have generally been applied to prevent overt electioneering: posting signs or banners; passing out pamphlets, flyers, or other literature; making oral exhortions, etc. Recently, however, movements in some states have sought to have bans on electioneering enforced against "passive electioneering" as well the wearing by voters of buttons, pins,t-shirts and other adornments bearing the names of candidates. The issue is a murky one because state laws may prohibit electioneering without defining the term, and the definition of "electioneering" may vary from place to place when the issue is left up to local election boards to define........

It's up to voters to be aware of what the regulations are at their local
polling places; if you can't get (or don't have time to find) a definitive answer about what constitutes electioneering where you vote, you may want to leave apparel (or other decorative items) bearing the names of candidates home on election day, or at least be prepared to remove it if asked. (For example, if you're going to wear an "Obama" or "McCain" shirt to a polling place, be sure to bring a change of shirt with you just in case.) In general, you should not be denied permission to vote for violating passive electioneering regulations; you should just be asked to leave the polling place and remove the items in question from public view before you re-enter. (Electioneering can be a violation of state law, typically a misdemeanor, so perpetrators run the risk of being detained and/or arrested, but this outcome is unlikely save for cases of flagrant violations.)

So, I would take heed to the warning. If you want more information or want to read the entire article go to http://www.snopes.com/politics/ballot/electioneering.asp


  1. great post.. MD also has a rumors link on their board of elections site.

  2. It may be a rumor in some places, but it was front page news in my town of San Diego. As I researched it, I found that other states such as PA were being spurred on by the GOP to ban t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers with a certain number of feet from a polling place. Be safe, leave the Obama shirt home, or bring a jacket to cover up.