Friday, October 10, 2008

Passive Electioneering?

Recently there has been a lot of press around Pennsylvania where both Democrats and Republicans are doing battle in court regarding whether or not you can wear a t-shirt supporting your choice for candidate. So, if you come to your respective voting location in Pennsylvania wearing a shirt that says "Yes we can" or "Maverick" you will be asked to turn your shirt inside out in order to vote.

Apparently there is an old law which bans people from wearing shirts that display their personal choice for candidate. The case to keep the polling places slogan free, is said best by Robert Gleason, chairman of the state Republican party, "We strongly believe Pennsylvanians should be able to look to the polling place as a safe harbor, free of any type of electioneering, without any outside influences".

Seriously? Would you honestly feel your vote is being affected by what another person is wearing? What if I wore a shirt that said my views on which Coffee place I like best. Would someone feel that my personal opinion on coffee effected theirs while voting?

I think most people have made up their minds by the time they are in the polling places and are certainly not going to change their opinion because of someone next to them is wearing a shirt stating what their choice of candidate is.

If people no longer have a choice of what clothes to wear while voting then maybe we should not have people demonstrate outside of polling places. Perhaps seeing a neighbor holding a sign for a particular candidate might persuade my anonymous vote and I won't vote because my polling place is not a "safe harbor".

Is the issue here that people don't feel they can vote securely, anonymously? If that is the case then we need to take a serious look into how we elect officials and make it secure for people to vote for who their candidate of choice is. Perhaps they should put it to a vote to the masses whether or not you are allowed to wear politically motivate t-shirts while voting.

My opinion is that as long as they are wearing clothes, I don't care what clothes they are wearing while voting (sorry naked people). What's your opinion?


Anonymous said...

It keeps folks from campaigning in the voting area. If there wasn't this law, those guys withs signs out in front of the voting areas would be inside the voting areas. Shirts, signs, all of it is a nuisance. It's been like this for a long time.

Anonymous said...

This isn't a law limited to just PA. It's everywhere I believe.

Casey said...

There are rules about how far away from a voting center you can campaign, much like there are rules about how far outside abortion clinics you can protest. The idea is to protect people going to the locations from overly enthusiastic (read: pushy) people. T-shirts seem to be a relatively passive way to express one's opinion, though.