CSU political science professor explains what not to do at the polls

CSU political science professor explains what not to do at the polls

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Due to a Supreme Court ruling, it is illegal for voters to show their support for any candidates who may be on the ballot.

“I feel that it was concerning that I got picked out for my Trump hat and t-shirt,” early voter Kelvin Thomas said.

Thomas went to cast his vote for the upcoming presidential election, but was turned away by a poll worker who said he was not allowed to wear his hat and t-shirt inside the polling place.

“I did what they asked me to," he said. “I turned my shirt inside out I took my hat off, regretfully, because it wasn’t right because I do work and pay my taxes. But the fact that I had to take my support off to vot”

Technically, the poll worker was not wrong.

According to Columbus State University political science professor, Dr. Jacob Holt, voters wearing or endorsing candidates on the ballot qualifies as electioneering, which is illegal within 100 yards of a polling place.

“You are not allowed to electioneer, which means you are not allowed to do anything promoting a particular candidate or in theory, even promoting say a constitutional amendment or a referendum while you are within a certain distance of the polling place," Holt said. "That is a law that all states have. It is really left up to poll workers in Georgia at least, whether what you are doing constitutes electioneering.”

Although it’s thought to be a nice gesture, handing out food or water to voters in line at the polling place can also get you in trouble.

“That is technically illegal because under federal law, you are giving somebody something of financial value for voting,” he said.

Many early voters like to snap a selfie showing off that they have done their civic duty by voting, but Holt said you can’t take a picture inside the polls.

“If you want to do a selfie about voting, either take it outside of the polls or do what I do and take a picture of your I voted sticker. Everyone will get the point,” he said.

Another mention is to avoid discussing who you are voting for while standing in line. Poll workers could ask you to leave for that as well.

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