What You Can and Cannot Wear To the Polls

Recorded on October 27, 2020

Election day is near! Attorney Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is on the radio with PYX106 explaining what you are and are NOT allowed to wear to your polling place.

Please give it a listen or read the transcript below.

The attorneys of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP are available to provide answers to your questions and to make sure your rights are protected. Contact us for more information, today!

Interviewer 1: It’s 1-800-LAW-1010. 1800law1010.com. Paul Harding‘s on the phone from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.

Interviewer 2: It’s one week from Election Day. Did you early vote yet, Paul?

Paul: Oddly, we did yesterday. So, it was… Just wanted to see what it was all about.

Interviewer 1: Was it busy?

Paul: And it was about waiting outside, yeah.

Interviewer 2: Where did you vote? How busy was it?

Paul: Boght Hills, we were over there. But we went at 7:30 strategically, you know?

Interviewer 1: Right.

Paul: Almost like if you go to a really busy wake. You know, you go really early or you go really late.

Interviewer 1: I like the reference.

Paul: Yeah. And so, we only waited about 20 minutes. Took 25 minutes to get in. But I’m told earlier in the day it was up to an hour in a half.

Interviewer 2: Yeah, I know in Schodack where I was, it was at least 45 minutes. I haven’t gone yet. But I feel like it’d probably less of a line on actual Election Day.

Interviewer 1: That’s a great point.

Paul: Right.

Interviewer 1: Yeah, if you could do… Yeah, any stand back and stand byers?

Paul: No. No, it seemed quiet and orderly.

Interviewer 2: We got Paul on as we do every four years to tell us what we can or can’t wear to the polls on the Election Day. But do these laws adhere to early voting? They must, right?

Paul: They do, yeah. Early voting, vote at Election Day, all the same.

Interviewer 1: Okay, and that is no reference towards either party or any other party, right?

Paul: Yeah, you can’t have a candidate’s name on your shirt or on your hat. You also can’t have a reference to a party. And then, you know, everyone was super quiet in the line. It was almost eerily quiet. Everybody smiling at each other. But you can’t verbally proselytize a candidate. You can’t say, “Vote for X.” If you do, it’s an actual misdemeanor in the state of New York.

Interviewer 1: Wow.

Interviewer 2: And then what about signs? Don’t signs have to be outside of the polling area?

Paul: They have to be far enough away. I did see a few signs that looked like they were probably right on the track, you know? A couple hundred yards away. You know, they wanted to get the last look before you drove up to the voting area. But the big question this year was, you know, could you make…could you wear shirts that say, oh, I don’t know, “Make America Great Again,” you know, “Ban Fracking,” “In God We Trust,” “Black Lives Matter.” You know, those are the questions…

Interviewer 1: “Fire the Liar.”

Interviewer 2: Can you wear those?

Paul: “Fire the Liar.” Yeah, and you… Turns out, you can wear those shirts. I saw nobody with those shirts on. Didn’t expect everyone super close. But I didn’t see anything that would’ve made a reference to it. And the thing is that is, like, “Make America Great Again” is not on the ballot. You know, “Ban Fracking,” if we don’t have a referendum, but it’s not on the ballot. So as long as you’re wearing something that has a political reference, but not to an actual party or an actual candidate, you’re okay. But you can certainly let people in line know which way you’re going.

Interviewer 2: Geez. Yeah, I mean, freedom of speech, I’m all for it. But, yeah, are we getting dangerously close to something possibly… You know what I mean? Is this too close for comfort to be able to have… I could have a ridiculous quote from the current president. And go stand in line and really stir it up even though…

Interviewer 1: And not even reference the president.

Interviewer 2: …that quote’s not on the ballot. Right, it could get ugly with this stuff.

Paul: You can do it. And as I said, there was a particular sense of quiet. You know, I don’t remember what it was like because I didn’t pay attention as much last presidential election. But it just seemed a lot more jovial, light with people. So this seemed like people were just kinda keeping to themselves. Obviously, masks on always make a difference. Spaced out 6 feet. Outside, which was never the case. Right? Because there’s never much of a line.

Interviewer 2: Right.

Paul: So here didn’t see anything. But I could see that could ignite a little energy if somebody’s wearing their shirt or hat that says…

Interviewer 1: I’ll be the guy wearing my giant sheep’s head, doing the Biden, “Come on, man.” And they won’t know why I’m doing, “Come on, man.” I’ll just be doing it, “Come on, man.”

Interviewer 2: Paul, the Keith Reiner from Nexium gets sentenced today. I know we didn’t tell you we were gonna ask you about it, but do you have any thoughts? They’re asking for life in prison.

Paul: Yeah, he’s gonna be gone a long, long time. You know, I don’t know about the life in prison. I know they’re asking for it, and they’ve talked about it. But, you know, it’s certainly gonna be a double-digit kinda sentence. And we’re gonna have to wait and see. But right now, they’re saying, you know, 20 plus years to life. Yeah, I think that’s… He may have earned himself a spot in the federal system for that amount of time.

Interviewer 2: Well, we’ll find out later today.

Interviewer 1: You can’t have an old school cult in this country anymore. What’s happened to us?

Interviewer 2: Good luck with the Trick or Treating. We’re still figuring it out at our house. So good luck to you this weekend, Paul.

Paul: Okay. Thank you.

Interviewer 1: Thanks, Paul. Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. 1-800-LAW-1010. 1800law1010.com.