Stupid: Tea partier blocked from voting in Texas for wearing Gadsden flag symbol

posted at 10:05 pm on October 20, 2010 by Allahpundit

Texas law says that, while in the polling place, you can’t advocate for or against “any candidate, measure, or political party.” Granted, anyone with a “Don’t tread on me” button is probably a safe bet to be voting GOP this year — the left doesn’t remember colonial history, after all — but one can’t make assumptions. For instance, would it be fair to assume that a guy in a hammer-and-sickle t-shirt will always and everywhere be voting Democrat?

Actually, maybe that’s a bad example.

Katrina Pierson, who sits on the steering committee of the Dallas Tea Party and is also involved with the Garland Tea Party, told The Daily Caller that “around 11 o’clock yesterday,” a Garland Tea Party member, reported that she was told by an election official that she could not vote unless she removed her button. A second election official, Pierson said, did not recognize the button and did not understand why the other official was not permitting the woman to vote.

According to Pierson, the woman refused to remove her button, saying it was a violation of her first amendment rights, and called the sheriff’s office. The sheriff passed the matter on to the Dallas County Election Department, which failed to act.

The woman opted not to vote until she had done more research and figured out whether or not the election official was allowed to do that. The Garland Tea Party is currently conducting that investigation on her behalf…

Pierson says, “It’s not electioneering, it’s not a candidate, it’s not a party affiliation.”

A question for the election lawyers out there: If a tea-party candidate ended up on the ballot as an independent, would that change the calculus here? Would it change if the tea party became an actual political party and nominated someone but didn’t take the Gadsden flag as its official symbol? It’s unclear to me how far electioneering law would allow assumptions about advocacy and voting intentions to be drawn from symbols that aren’t formally linked to a party. If I go down to the polls next month in a Reagan t-shirt, it’s pretty clear which way I’m leaning — but is it so clear that polling officials could make me take it off?

Actually, I think it’d be rip-roaring fun to suspend electioneering laws this year if only in Nevada, just to see how far the Angle/Reid blood feud would go with their supporters unleashed. Forget t-shirts and buttons; I’m picturing nunchuks and brass knuckles emblazoned with the campaign logos. No survivors.


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Or the Confederate flag?

AS IF you think that doesn’t rile people at the polls?

Why make a public scene at the polling place at all?

maverick muse on October 21, 2010 at 7:58 AM

And what about the billy clubs?

Odd set of standards.

tarpon on October 21, 2010 at 8:24 AM

Isn’t it also a safe assumption that if you are a black person you will vote democrat?

Osis on October 21, 2010 at 8:33 AM

maverick muse on October 21, 2010 at 7:48 AM maverick muse on October 21, 2010 at 7:56 AM

I sincerely doubt that the lady in question thought the pin in question was a problem and that she was looking for trouble. I hope that her questioning of rules was done in a polite way so as not to qualify as a conniption but I have to admit I wasn’t there. Maybe she had also heard of the pass Mrs. Obama was given and was angry at the double standard. Again. And I couldn’t agree with you more about the paper trail. Our votes are too important to be left to malfunctions or hackers.

Cindy Munford on October 21, 2010 at 8:39 AM

I’ve been seeing the emails here from the Dallas Tea Party for the last few days. I will be voting before I go to work, so I won’t be wearing a t-shirt at all.

jeffn21 on October 21, 2010 at 8:55 AM

AS IF you think that doesn’t rile people at the polls?
Why make a public scene at the polling place at all?
maverick muse on October 21, 2010 at 7:58 AM

In my neck of the woods Confederate flags are as common kudzu along the highway. Nobody raises an eyebrow.

Just A Grunt on October 21, 2010 at 9:05 AM

I always vote naked and never have a problem.

Akzed on October 21, 2010 at 9:19 AM

Reading AP’s post and all of your comments, I just realized that voting by mail is boring.

CliffHanger on October 21, 2010 at 10:29 AM

How about the dipsticks with a ‘Che!’ T-shirt? Can we get Texas to say that the image is associated with the Communist Party USA? Or one of the Socialist Parties? I would prefer they kept their shirts on, because it is usually the only one they own… but inside-out would be good enough for voting…

Or how about the divided snake emblem with ‘Join Or Die’ on it? That’s entirely non-political and yet many idiots would mistake that for a coercive slogan.

Sorry, the sniff test doesn’t work on this one: if they do it for Gadsden then all the Communist and Socialist symbols have to go, too, as there are real, live Communist and Socialist parties in the US. No ‘Che!’ shirts, no Greenpeace slogans, no ‘Save the Whales for Breakfast’ buttons…however ‘Campus Crusade for Cthulhu… IT found ME!’ should be just fine.

ajacksonian on October 21, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Why make a public scene at the polling place at all?

maverick muse on October 21, 2010 at 7:58 AM

-
I thought about the possibility of walking into the polls and countering what Mrs. Obama said… pretty much word for word opposing her comments supporting Barry’s policies. Of course it should be done on the way out of the booth, after voting.

Won’t be doing it, but what if a boat load of people did?

RalphyBoy on October 21, 2010 at 11:57 AM

I am wearing my ‘Yo Mama sucks’ pin.

Sir Napsalot on October 21, 2010 at 12:27 PM

What if the voter, like me, is an old white man?

davidk on October 21, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Good News! I just got an email from the Dallas Tea Party stating that the State of Texas has explained that his is alright. So it looks like if someone says anything about a t-shirt, you can tell them to shut up and report to their boss.

jeffn21 on October 21, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Yep, stupid. Let’s please not sell this election down the river over proving that something’s stupid. The woman should have removed her button, voted, and then requested a legal reading on the matter. Priorities, people.

J.E. Dyer on October 21, 2010 at 4:42 PM

For instance, would it be fair to assume that a guy in a hammer-and-sickle t-shirt will always and everywhere be voting Democrat?

In 2000 I was installing software at a county election office and I overheard one of the receptionists field a complaint from a voter that a polling place was “decorated in Republican colors.” The colors in question, of course, were Red, White and Blue, like most polling places in the country.

If I go down to the polls next month in a Reagan t-shirt, it’s pretty clear which way I’m leaning — but is it so clear that polling officials could make me take it off?

And even more interesting question would be if you were wearing a Calvin Coolidge t-shirt. It would stand for the same thing, but most poll officers probably a) wouldn’t recognize Coolidge and, b) couldn’t identify his party. Although, that may be changing…

JackOfClubs on October 21, 2010 at 5:16 PM

I worked the polls for a dear friend 4 years ago. We were standing there and a man in a trench coat came strolling in with his wife. He stopped to take our literature and then glanced around furtively before “flashing” us…pinned to the inside of the coat were about 15 years worth of Republican campaign buttons. Then he closed the coat back up. Since we were campaigners, and not election judges, and the man was showing no open display of partisanship, we just laughed. A LOT.

I remember the first time I voted Republican (in my late 20′s, go figure), I had on the “Vote Republican” button that I had been wearing all campaign season. I had no idea about the rule and I still kinda think it’s a dumb one.

Last year we had an off cycle local election and I was soo tempted to bring the baby in his Halloween costume (a baby elephant) but I didn’t want to get “in trouble”.

Enough about me…how are you all doing? ; )

WaltzingMtilda on October 21, 2010 at 9:53 PM

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