Election officials: people cannot wear political masks, shirts, hats, or buttons to vote

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TAZEWELL COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — Election officials are working to keep polling places campaign free zones.

Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman said people can not wear shirts, hats, buttons, or masks with political messages. Ackerman said it’s considered electioneering and is against federal law to have or wear propaganda within 100 feet of a polling place.

“We’ve had quite a bit of it for both candidates already, especially with face masks that have the message on there, people coming in with t-shirts,” said Ackerman. “We understand that they’re interested and active in wanting to make sure their voice is heard, but we just can’t have it physically being seen on the premise.”

He said people will be asked to remove, take off, or turn clothing inside before voting.

“That counts for all of our polling locations on election day as well and all of our early voting sites,” said Ackerman. “All of our judges are trained to watch for it and to point it out and just ask them to remove the item.”

He said it’s harder to monitor what people are wearing in a large building but said preventing electioneering means everyone has a fair opportunity to cast their ballot.

“It’s so that individuals feel safe when they come to the polling location, that they’re not threatened in any way. That they have the right to have, everybody has the right to have their voice heard,” said Ackerman.

Ackerman said so far, the county has seen high early voting turnout. He also said people are beginning to return their vote by mail ballots too.

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