You’ve probably wondered at some point about the campaign signs outside your polling place, or even had to dodge a person or two trying to influence you to vote for their preferred candidate. You might even ask yourself, “Is this all legal?”
Well, kind of. The short answer is: it depends. That’s why we’re going to dig deeper into this topic! While you’re here, we’ve got graphics for you to download that covers everything you need to know about electioneering to share with your friends.
If there’s anything we’ve missed, or you have more questions, call us at 866-OUR-VOTE!
1. What’s electioneering?
Electioneering is the act of campaigning for or against a candidate, party, measure, or anything else on the ballot. It can be handing out flyers, placing campaign signs, or even just wearing a t-shirt supporting or opposing something or someone on the ballot. This activity is allowed more than 100 feet from the polling place, but it is not allowed within the 100-foot zone.
2. Okay but, how will I know where the 100-foot zone is?
Every polling place is required to post a sign, cone, or flyer that clearly indicates the 100-foot line. If you don’t see that, call 866-OUR-VOTE and we will ask them to fix it!
3. Can I wear my candidate’s apparel inside the polling place?
Nope! You will not be allowed within 100 feet of the polling place wearing a mask, hat, t-shirt, or any other campaign or party apparel. Election workers may ask you to conceal such items, such as by putting your hat in your coat pocket or turning your mask inside out. To make things easy, make sure to wear only nonpartisan gear to the polling place.
4. Okay, that makes sense. But what about attire that is not specifically related to a candidate or party, but is a statement that some might see as political?
It depends on the statement. If the shirt supports or opposes something that is on the ballot, or if it has a candidate’s slogan on it, you can’t wear it into the polling place. If the statement is a general policy position that is not specifically tied to a candidate or a party on the ballot, you probably can wear it. Though just to be on the safe side, you should wear something that doesn’t have any statements on it.
5. What if someone outside the polling place is yelling or being aggressive?
It is against the law for anyone to attempt to intimidate people while trying to vote, whether within 100 feet of the polling place or outside of 100 feet, period. If you see intimidation happening, call 866-OUR-VOTE immediately.
6. What if I hear someone using a microphone near a polling place to electioneer?
People cannot use a sound amplification device or a vehicle with a loudspeaker to electioneer within 1000 feet of a polling place. If you see someone doing that, please call 866-OUR-VOTE.
Like I said, we’ve got some cool graphics about electioneering that y’all can download and share with your friends!
If there’s anything we’ve missed, or you have more questions, call us at 866-OUR-VOTE or visit texaselectionprotection.org.
Julien Gomez is the election protection digital fellow at the Texas Civil Rights Project. Special thanks to the voting rights team at TCRP for compiling this information.