What You Can And Can’t Do At Polling Places
Man: 1800law1010, 1800law1010.com.
Man 2: Attorney Paul Harding from Martin Harding & Mazzotti. Paul, what are you wearing today? Who are you wearing?
Paul: You know, it’s [inaudible 00:00:10] like a uniform. Yeah. It’s a uniform. I go with either black, blue. Sometimes even a tanned, but always a suit, every day. It just kinda feels the responsibility of the lawyer.
Man 2: Not every day because you had the best jacket at Quinn’s wedding a couple of summers ago.
Man: Oh, my God. Yeah.
Man 2: The best jacket.
Man: I remember exactly.
Paul: Thank you.
Man: It was this beautiful blue, like a checker. It was nice. Then he took it off to dance. Look out ladies. So what if I walked into a polling place and I just happened to be one of those really loud people, loud talkers, you know. People talk loud. They don’t realize they’re talking loud. And I’m thinking politics and I’m talking out loud about it. Is that okay?
Paul: Yeah. So you really can do a lot of things and there’s a lot of things that you can’t do and most recently, the supreme court decided that they’d chime in. And Minnesota had a law that said, boy, you can’t wear political T-shirts and hats and buttons and anything near those polling places. And they said, “No. That’s not fair. We’ve got our first amendment.” You can do that stuff, but there are certain restrictions. As far as what you can say, you can’t sit there and pontificate about a particular party or a particular candidate that should be elected or you think should be elected, but you can have casual conversation. It really is kind of a judgment test.
Man 2: So I thought I read…and granted, there’s a lot to read because each state has their own laws, but I thought I read you could wear, like, a T-shirt with a political statement as long as it didn’t involve an issue on the ballot or a candidate. Do you know if that applies to New York?
Paul: Yeah. Sure. Yeah. No. It absolutely can. [inaudible 00:01:38]…
Man: So I can wear my, you know, Safe Act with a circle and this cross through it T-shirt?
Man 2: Is that on the ballot?
Paul: Well, you…unless it’s on the ballot. So, yes. Election laws are super confusing. The general theme was Minnesota tried to be extra broad. You look at… You can’t wear anything. Court says, “No. No. that’s not true.” You can wear lots of things. Here’s what you can’t do. You can’t walk in with a particular name of a candidate on your shirt. If you do, you either have to cover it up. We’re gonna give you, like, tape, or take the shirt off and hope you’ve got another shirt to wear before they give you a ballot. Secondly, if you’re there and they feel that you have the ability to communicate something like extra loud, we talked about earlier. On the way in, you’ve got kind of a megaphone and you’ve gotta give a little statement, they can ask you to leave there. So it’s allowing you to wear Republican buttons. You can wear something that says, “I support the Safe Act’ if it’s not on the ballot, but you can’t linger around, meaning you can’t become a human billboard.
Man 2: Got it.
Man: Got it.
Paul: You do your business and you leave.
Man 2: And if you’re stumping for a particular candidate, I think you have to be a certain distance from the actual polling place. So you can’t, like…
Paul: Well, it’s 100 feet. Yeah. You can’t be more than 100 feet with anything and I guess that’s measured if you go straight out the door left and right, forward, back. Yeah. There’s all these crazy rules, but…
Man: Oh my God.
Man 2: Now do I have to go 100 feet because I’m wearing…because I’m supporting a candidate then another 25 to have a cigarette or does that 100…
Man: I think it adds onto it.
Man 2: Because I’ll be, like, 200 feet away.
Man: Because there might be other people that have to be 100 feet too. You gotta be 20 feet away from them. What about a homeless guy? You’ve mentioned shirts. What if he doesn’t even have a shirt, but he’s an American? Where does he vote?
Paul: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, that’s a great point.
Man 2: It is a good point.
Paul: Someone comes in, I think as long as you do not violate any of the local ordinates as it pertains to what body parts you can show, you can show up without a shirt.
Man 2: Oh, is this the worst show you do all week? You know what I did find interesting though?
Man 2: Is I don’t think you can go into a booth with a buddy. You can bring…
Man: No, I don’t think you can.
Man 2: …a child, a minor, but you can’t…you and a friend can’t go vote together.
Man: Right. How about my Slurpee? Can I bring that in?
Paul: Well, remember certain states allow you to take a selfie in the booth. In other states, it’s absolutely illegal to do it. And so…
Man: What about this state?
Paul: You know, it’s a great question and I wish I had researched that before I opened my mouth just now.
Man: I feel like last year it was okay. The last time.
Man 2: I’ll look it up.
Paul: I think New York does allow it, but I didn’t wanna go on record and then have somebody handcuffed…
Man: No, no, no.
Paul: …because of my…
Man 2: Here’s the thing. It’s a serious thing. Take it seriously. You know, if we all just took it seriously, no, then we wouldn’t have had to even talk about this.
Man: Whatever gets in there man. If it gets in there, I mean, if they wanna dress up in a bikini or a speedo and show up. Look, Paul, again, it’s not necessarily the worst show you do. It’s probably the most embarrassing one for you and we’re so thankful for it.
Man 2: We are thankful for it, Paul.
Paul: I love it. I love you guys and I love your show.
Man 2: Did you vote yet today Paul?
Paul: No. But it’s coming…going right after this. I’m heading over.
Man 2: That’s great.
Man: Great man. Good luck.
Man 2: Thanks for the Election Day information, Paul.
Paul: You’re welcome.
Man: …1800law1010.com. Paul Harding, Martin Harding Mazzotti.