With the presidential election projected to be close this year, some exceedingly twitchy voting supervisors have been cracking down on unwitting university students from a certain prestigious institution with an acronym that seemed suspiciously similar to a certain candidate's first name.
According to Alton Dillard, a spokesman for the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s office, a poll worker called a supervisor to investigate a young woman she suspected of violating the state’s electioneering law. The woman's offending garment? A sweatshirt from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Colorado state election law prohibits anyone from supporting a candidate near a polling place. According to Colorado Revised Statutes, no electioneering may take place within a 100 foot limit of any polling place, vote center or early voting site (C.R.S. 1-13-714).
“I was in the area, saw the shirt and assured the worker that there was only one ‘T,’ so the voter was not electioneering,” Dillard told the Denver Post.
A voter wearing an MIT t-shirt was also flagged in Boca Raton, according to Boca News Now.
The woman was initially prevented from entering the polling place because she was wearing a shirt with the suspicious letters, according to the site. The woman was ultimately allowed to vote.
Even with a degree from the best university in the world, it's doubtful these students could have predicted their pedigree would cause problems for them at the polls.
According to Wisegeek, "passive electioneering" is the practice of wearing clothing with political insignia, for example a sweatshirt or tee.
Passive electioneering is of special concern at the polls, because many people fear that passive electioneering could intimidate people coming to the polls to vote. For this reason, the practice is banned near polling places in many areas, along with active electioneering.