As Nov. 2 approaches local election officials have expressed concern about what voters may wear to the polls.
In a normal election year, only political advertisements or campaign slogans on T-shirts, buttons, and other paraphernalia would be a concern. But this year, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon is running for U.S. Senate. As a result, local election officials have asked the Secretary of the State’s office if WWE T-shirts or other paraphernalia will be cause for concern.
State election law limits campaign paraphernalia and advertising to within 75 feet of the polling places, but since the WWE is “ubiquitous” with McMahon, local election officials have been asking for guidance, Av Harris, spokesman for the secretary of the state’s office, said Friday.
Two years ago, local officials were concerned about the “Yes we can!” T-shirts, which were synonymous with President Barack Obama’s campaign, Harris said.
Harris said every case will be handled on an individual basis. He said if a voter wearing WWE clothing is interfering with people’s ability to vote, then the moderator has permission to ask them to cover it up.
The idea that a WWE fan could be asked to leave a polling place had the wrestling empire and Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy crying foul Friday afternoon.
Healy released a statement titled, “Bysiewicz Loses Mind.”
“Susan Bysiewicz has no legal authority to predetermine who votes based on their non-political clothing,” said Healy. “On what grounds does Bysiewicz basing this ridiculous act of voter intimidation?”
McMahon’s husband, Vince, who is currently chairman and CEO of WWE, also had a few terse words for the state’s chief elections official on Friday.
“Denying our fans the right to vote, denying them their First Amendment rights, regardless if they are Democrat, Republican, or Independent, is un-American, unconstitutional and blatantly discriminatory,” said McMahon.
Earlier this week, Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo filed a complaint against McMahon’s campaign claiming it improperly coordinated its campaign efforts with the wrestling empire, which launched a public relations campaign to defend the company against some of the negative campaign attacks.
On Friday, it was revealed that Richard Blumenthal’s campaign staff had been asked to provide Planned Parenthood with some misogynistic photos of women in the WWE.
Ben Smith of Politico reported Friday morning on the email exchange between a Blumenthal staff and someone from Planned Parenthood.
“Hey all — Grossman is looking for misogynistic photos of women and WWE. Planned Parenthood wants to hit LM hard on it,” Blumenthal staffer Marcy Stech e-mailed seven other aides to the campaign and the State Democratic Party. “What do we got?”
“It was just yesterday that the Blumenthal-funded state Democratic Party filed a frivolous complaint alleging coordination – despite the fact that they had no evidence,” Ed Patru, McMahon’s communications director, said. “Today, there is clear and incriminating evidence that Dick Blumenthal is not only engaged in potentially illegal coordination, but that he is a politician who will stop at nothing to hold onto power.”