Election officials answer questions about electioneering

Updated: Oct. 16, 2020 at 4:20 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - As early voting continues in Wichita County, election officials want people to be aware of electioneering.

Electioneering covers everything from people with signs to wearing a political shirt inside the polling place.

In Texas, the rule is people campaigning have to be at least 100 feet from the polling site.

“We have seen over the last several elections more and more activity from whatever the vote might be,” said Steve Garner, an election judge for Wichita County.

In the state of Texas clothing with political messages, people passing out signs at the door, and political candidates talking to people in line is considered electioneering and is illegal.

“When someone comes in with a button or with a shirt or now a facemask that has political statements on it we just ask them nicely if they could take care of that away from the polling area,” said Garner.

“They can legally be arrested,” said Dr. Steve Garrison, an associate professor of Political Science at MSU Texas. “You don’t want to have authority figures or people that appear to be authority figures in the election places telling you how to vote.”

“Most of the instances I’ve had people understood and just didn’t give me a hard time,” said Garner.

Anyone who walks into a polling place wearing something with a political statement will be asked to cover it up or if possible remove whatever it is he or she is wearing.

“We want the polling places to be open to doing what they are supposed to do so that people can go in there and freely vote for whoever it is that they would like to support,” said Garrison.

If you see someone who might be electioneering when you go to vote the best thing to do is to tell a poll worker inside and they will take care of it.

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