What you can wear to vote in person changed this year

T. Ware

Be sure you know the new voting dress code before going to the polls in Texas -Edmond Dantes/Pexels

The voting dress code changed in Texas. If you plan to vote in person, you’ll want to know what you can and cannot wear to the polls.

In a Texas Secretary of State news release, John B. Scott wrote, “Remember the ground rules when you’re going to the polls—once you cross the 100-foot marker outside the polling place, you cannot wear hats, t-shirts, buttons or anything else relating to a candidate or measure on the current ballot.”

The new dress code helps prevent campaigning within 100 feet of the polling place.

KRLD reports how Sam Taylor of the Texas Secretary of State’s Office explained it. He said,

“Inside that zone, you cannot electioneer. That means you cannot represent anything on your clothing—whether it’s a pin, a t-shirt, a hat, what have you—in support or against any candidate or measure on the ballot.”

That requirement only applies to candidates and measures on the current ballot.

In the past, you couldn’t wear political attire inside polling places. That changed. It is now OK to wear clothing, pins, hats, or other items that publicize measures or candidates not on the ballot.

“In other words,” according to Vote Texas, “If you are wearing a hat, t-shirt, or button relating to a candidate, measure or political party that does not appear on the ballot in the current election, you are not violating Texas law.”

What to do if you run into a problem when voting in Texas

If you run into an issue at the polls, you can talk to poll workers or election officers there. You can also call the Texas Secretary of State’s helpline. The number is 1-800-252-VOTE (8683).

Be aware, however, if your clothes or other items don’t line up with the rules, and you refuse to make requested changes, the presiding polling place judge can turn you away.

Also, remember that you’re not allowed to use cell phones, laptops, cameras, tablets, recorders, or any wireless device that communicates within 100 feet of the polls, per the Texas Secretary of State news release.

This year, get ready to vote takes on an additional meaning in Texas. Preparations include knowing the new polling place dress code.

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