What Illinois law says about what you can and cannot wear to the polls on Election Day – Rockford Register Star

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A "no electioneering" sign is on display outside the early voting room on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, at the Winnebago County Clerk's office in Rockford.

Illinois law prohibits “electioneering” in or around polling places.

That means if you want to vote without getting asked to zip up a jacket, turn your shirt inside out or to take a hat off, it could be good idea to leave the t-shirt that says “Fire Pritzker,” or the one that says Darren Bailey aims to be “the Trump of Illinois,” at home.

Here is what you should know about choosing your outfit when going to vote.

Electioneering: What’s that?

Electioneering under state law is campaigning, soliciting votes or engaging in a “political discussion” in or around a polling place. It is prohibited. No one is permitted to wear a campaign button, display political literature or engage in any “political discussion” within the restricted area.

Illinois Election Day 2022:When fashion and politics collide on Election Day so do rights to free speech and voting

What’s a ‘campaign free zone?

A campaign free zone is the area at a polling place in which no advertising for any candidate or proposition to be voted upon can be displayed. It includes the polling place and 100 feet from the entrance. If the polling place is located on private property or at a church, the entire property can be designated as a campaign free zone by the property owner.

Is my shirt allowed?

That depends. Shirts, hats, buttons and other apparel with campaign messages are not allowed in a polling place, and that is especially true for any candidate or issue that appears on the ballot. Some jurisdictions also do not allow voters to wear political slogans that could be viewed as supporting one party or another. Also any garment with a Democratic donkey or a Republican elephant should be left at home. These kind of shirts are viewed as supporting or opposing a political party and aren’t allowed in the campaign free zone.

Who decides?

Election judges are empowered and trained to run a polling place and determine what is and is not electioneering using their best judgment.

Can campaigns be conducted outside the polling place?

Campaigning, handing out fliers or distributing palm cards is allowed as long as it is outside of the campaign free zone. Election officials say voters often complain when they see campaigning near their polling place, but as long as it is outside the zone, it is allowed under state law.

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November 6, 2022 at 06:45PM

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