Here Are All the States Where It’s Illegal to Wear Political Apparel to the Polls
November 6 will undoubtedly prove a pivotal day in America’s political history, with Republicans looking to retain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and Democrats looking for momentum-building victories to catapult their chances in the 2020 presidential election. The parties’ voters will eagerly cast their say on the future of the country, but not all of them will be able to don political apparel when they do so, as nine states prohibit such garb at polling locations.
From a civics perspective, 2018 has not been one for the faint of heart, as supporters and detractors of President Donald Trump and his policies have fervently defended their stances on his administration’s vision. While rallies, protests and marches have served each group well, Election Day is the best chance to express one’s views, and turnout should be quite high. In Delaware, Kansas, Montana, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Vermont, though, constituents will find themselves limited in how apparent they can make their allegiance.
The march to Election Day makes political apparel a crucial topic to discuss. Because the Trump presidency seems set to prove the most polarizing in our nation’s history, we do not need to look far for products that encapsulate that division, and voters, come two weeks from today, will certainly want their attire to complement their thought processes. A little more than four months ago, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 to end a political apparel ban in Minnesota, dwindling to single digits the number of states that do not allow political buttons, hats and T-shirts at the polls.
With that verdict having settled a matter that dates back to November 2010, one wonders if any unforeseen conflicts at this year’s polling places might inspire other voters to have their states’ bans lifted. As it is, though, the aforementioned nine states place checks on creative or even commonplace plaudits and critiques, and impose legal consequences for violations of said limitations. With early voting having commenced, the apparel-concerned eyes of the nation could be on these spots leading up to November 6:
- Delaware: The first state to ratify the Constitution also occupies the top spot alphabetically among the apparel banners. Home to nearly 700,000 registered voters, it could end up being quite influential in shaping our future both politically and legally with respect to its residents’ wardrobe choices.
- Kansas: The Sunflower State has 1.8 million registered voters, so look for officials to be especially mindful of what those residents attire themselves in as they venture to their polling destinations.
- Montana: Just shy of 703,000 registered voters will have to reach for something other than political apparel when they reveal their views for posterity’s sake.
- New Jersey: As of November 2017, the Garden State was home to 5.7 million registered voters. With a decent percentage of them expected to cast votes, it will be interesting to see if the battle between Democrats and Republicans, in any way, extends to a question of their supporters’ outfits.
- New York: 12.4 million occupants are registered to head to polls in New York State. With such a staggering total, it will be interesting to see if there are any violators of its political apparel suppression.
- South Carolina: In the Palmetto State, 3.1 million occupants could choose to head to the polls. One wonders if they will decide to show southern hospitality to their state’s limitation of political attire.
- Tennessee: Come the end of November 6, more than 3.5 million Tennesseans will have had the chance to do their civic duty. How will they decide not only when casting votes but also when selecting their outfits?
- Texas: The Lone Star State will have many observers beyond its staggering 15.8 million registered voters, as people around the nation will be curious to see the result of the Senate race between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. Will the enthusiasm for the outcome include any wardrobe debates?
- Vermont: With 481,000 registered voters, this New England state could certainly prove a factor in the validation or repudiation of the current administration, but will it be the home of any political apparel ban blowback?