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  Va. officials ban campaign clothing at polls
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ContributorThe Sunset Provision 
Last EditedThe Sunset Provision  Oct 15, 2008 01:38pm
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News DateWednesday, October 15, 2008 07:00:00 PM UTC0:0
Description Virginia voters won't be allowed to wear clothing featuring John McCain or Barack Obama when they head to the polls on Nov. 4.

The State Board of Elections on Tuesday voted to ban clothing and hats as well as buttons and other paraphernalia that directly advocate the election or defeat of a specific candidate or issue.

The American Civil Liberties Union argued that the ban violates the First Amendment's right to free speech. The board, however, said it has to weigh that against the right to vote free of undue influence or the tension that candidate advocacy might create.

Efforts to enforce a similar ban are headed to court in Pennsylvania. At least four states — Maine, Montana, Vermont and Kansas — prohibit wearing campaign buttons, stickers and badges inside polling places.

In September, a Pennsylvania Department of State memo — it is not legally binding — advised counties that voters' attire doesn't matter as long as the "voter takes no additional action to attempt to influence other voters." Two Pittsburgh-area elections officials sued to have the memo rescinded.

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