Blogs » Victoria County Election Administrator » Electioneering, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Every one is excited about this election and they all want to show their support for the candidates. People do this by putting out yard signs and wearing buttons and donning t-shirts. All of this is great. Wearing a t-shirt with your candidate’s name means you believe in the person enough to let all those around you know your candidate is important.
In Texas campaign signs line our streets and can be found in the back of pick-up trucks and on the sides of vans and cars. This is good for our community because it means the voters are trying to get the non-voters out to the polls. The more people who participate in the election, the more we have representative democray.
Once we get into the polls this campaigning is called electioneering. Texas does not allow electioneering within 100 feet of the entrance to the polling location. This means bumper stickers and signs may not be carried into the polling location, even if the bumper sticker is attached to a purse or someone's back. It also means campaign buttons and t-shirts may not be worn when you go vote.
I applaud the efforts of every campaign worker and candidate supporter. Getting more people into the voting booths is the best sign of a strong democracy. It is fine to believe in your party and your candidate. Just don’t bring campaign materials into the polling location because electioneering is not allowed.
I’ve heard the argument that most voters have already made up their minds and will not be swayed by a sign or button they see the moment they enter a voting booth. Still some people, being the undecided we hear so much about, are having a difficult time making a choice. Before they get within a 100 feet of the polling entrance campaigns can do all they wish, within decency, to convince the voter the worthiness of the candidate. Once the voter enters this area, they must be allowed to make this final decision without meddling or undue influence of a bystander.
If you support a candidate you are certainly welcome to vote, but we allow people who support other candidates to vote as well. Marking your choice on the ballot, free from interference and with the secrecy of the ballot preserved, is a primary responsibility of election officials. If you insist on wearing campaign materials into the polling location we will ask you to remove it or cover up. It is not because we don’t support your candidate; it is because we are conducting a fair and impartial election.