Why You Can Wear BLM But Not MAGA Attire at New York Polls
Voting season is in full swing, and if you're preparing to head to the polls on Election Day, make sure you know what you can and cannot wear at your local New York polling place.
Onondaga County's Office of the Board of Elections released a statement on Thursday, issuing guidance on what is and is not considered acceptable attire at polling places. According to New York State law, Black Lives Matter attire is allowed at the polls, but MAGA attire is not. Here's why.
Voters are allowed to wear clothing or buttons that reflect political viewpoints as long as the issue is not on the ballot and the attire does not bear the name or slogan of a candidate. Since "Make America Great Again" is Donald Trump's slogan, it falls under this rule. Similarly, voters cannot wear Biden Harris attire when they show up to polls on November 3. While the BLM movement can be viewed as political, voters are allowed to wear clothing or buttons in support of it unless there is a ballot proposal concerning that issue.
So what happens if someone shows up to a New York polling place wearing a MAGA hat or Biden Harris shirt?
"No voter shall be restricted from voting for their political attire," the press release read. "Any voter wearing attire with a candidate's name will be asked to cover up or remove that attire before being issued a ballot. Any voter with such political messaging must be allowed to vote but must immediately be asked to remove themselves from the polling place upon casting said vote."
According to Syracuse.com, state officials said that New York's anti-electioneering law was not passed to violate voters' political expression, but to instead keep political campaigns out of the polls. While it may be tempting to support your chosen candidate on November 3, Onondaga County Board of Elections Michele Sardo recommends leaving the political garb at home.
"My suggestion is just don’t come with anything," Sardo said, according to Syracuse.com. "Just come in, vote and then go on your way. I know there’s always inspectors that feel uncomfortable or don’t want to cause an issue."
No matter what you end up wearing to the polls on November 3, one thing is required: a mask. All voters must wear a face covering inside the polling place, in accordance with Governor Cuomo's Executive Order 202.17. Election inspectors will have sanitation supplies on-hand and social distancing will be enforced.