Enforcing fashion at polling places goes too far

Friday, October 28, 2016

Are the PC police fashion police as well?

Apparently they are, in the tiny town of Bulverde, Texas, 30 minutes north of San Antonio.

Brett Bartlett Mauthe arrived to vote wearing a hat supporting Donald Trump and a "basket of deplorables" T-shirt -- a reference to Hillary Clinton's remarks that half of Trump's supporters were "a basket of deplorables" such as racists, sexists, homophobes or xenophobes, a generalization she later said she regretted.

Campaigning for a political candidate within a designated space around a polling place is prohibited most jurisdictions, and in Comal County, the space is 100 feet.

Poll workers asked Mauthe to remove his hat, which he did. They then asked him to turn his "deplorables" T-shirt inside out, and he refused.

The police were called, Mauthe was calm and cooperative when they arrived, but he was arrested and released on a $700 cash bond.

"I went up there and talked to him," said Bulverde Police Chief Gary Haecker. "I told him 'I support you and I appreciate what you're doing. It's your right, but you're going about it the wrong way here.' The election code has very specific rules. These are the rules and you have to abide by the rules."


We find it hard to believe every polling place in the nation is devoid of "I'm With Her" stickers or "Make America Great Again" baseball caps worn by voters.

Or, how about Trump fans who are pledging to wear red on election day to show support for their candidate to overcome alleged media bias?

If everyone wearing red -- or blue for that matter -- is turned away from the polls, we will have remarkably low turnout.

Polling place campaign prohibitions were originally designed to prevent candidates or their supporters from in-person election-day intimidation of voters, and that's an appropriate restriction.

More and more of us are voting in advance, making it easier to find time for sober reflection in relative privacy that is not available on election day.

With voter turnout struggling to top 30 percent in most recent elections, we shouldn't have to worry about interference from the fashion police on our way to the polls.

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