AFT Guild

Campaign Buttons & Clothing/Electioneering at Polls

Many of you may have received recent emails regarding not wearing political attire to the polls.

I checked with our political law attorney, who also provides counsel to Obama's California campaign team, and this is what he had to say:

"There is no definitive appellate court decision on the issue in California, and the Secretary of State has indeed left the issue to be resolved by each county registrar.  And many of them, in turn, have given guidance to pollworkers, but the practices at the polls are quite inconsistent.

We've been asked about the issue by the Obama campaign folks, who we've been representing in California.  Our advice, which I think is what has made its way into the e-mails that are circulating, is that it is better to be safe than sorry -- advising voters that since this MAY be seen as a problem at the polling place where they vote, that in order to make sure there are no problems, the safer course is simply not to go inside the polls with candidates' names on clothing or buttons.  We've advised that if campaign workers are going to be present or monitoring polling places, they should bring a jacket or sweater with them that they can give people to cover themselves with.  Since we don't know how individual pollworkers will respond, we don't want to see anyone turned away from voting because they were wearing campaign materials that could be construed (or even misconstrued) as constituting "electioneering" within the polling place, which would be defined as attempting to persuade someone to vote for a particular candidate."

Fredric D. Woocher
Strumwasser & Woocher LLP
100 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 1900
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Bottom line, it's better to be safe than sorry, so don't wear anything advertising any candidate when you go to the polls and vote on November 4th!