On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times gave an explainer on why it is legal to wear one of President Donald Trump’s famous “Make America Great Again” hats to the polls to vote — but not to wear a Biden hat.
The reason isn’t that election officials are picking favorites, reported John Myers. Rather, it has to do with the narrow way in which California election laws define “electioneering.”
“California has long differentiated between political slogans and what the law defines as ‘electioneering’ — displaying information about a candidate or campaign — at a polling place or vote center,” said the report. “Last month, state elections officials made clear that gear bearing the Trump slogan would not be considered synonymous with showing support for the president’s reelection.”
In fairness, the ruling also means you could wear Biden merchandise that simply states his slogans, like “Build Back Better.” But because Trump merchandise much more prominently is based on his slogan rather than his name, and Biden merchandise tends more commonly to display his name, the net result is that the more common forms of Trump gear will be more permissible.
“I think an argument could be made that [the electioneering law] should be tightened up a little bit,” said Democratic state Assemblyman Marc Berman. “Like so many things with this president, we’re encountering a lot of firsts.”
“A number of new procedures related to in-person voting have been added this fall for those who are not using the ballot mailed to them, prompted by the need for additional protections to lessen the spread of COVID-19,” continued the report. “Masks present one notable area of concern for improper electioneering. A mask with the president’s preferred slogan will be allowed, as long as it does not include his name or likeness.”
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