Here's What You Can (and Can't) Wear to California Polls on Election Day

Election day is Tuesday, November 6, in case you haven’t heard the news on Facebook, Taylor Swift’s Instastories, and the ballot proposition propaganda in your mailbox. If you’re planning to vote in real life this week, you’ll most likely wear clothes to cast your vote. Not all clothes, however, are polling-place friendly. Electioneering is prohibited within 100 feet of a polling place, so clothing or buttons in support of or against a candidate or ballot proposition are prohibited.

What exactly is “electioneering?” Let’s head straight to the source to find out!

The clothing-relevant portions of California Election Code Section 319.5 state “electioneering” means “the visible display or audible dissemination of information that advocates for or against any candidate or measure on the ballot within 100 feet of a polling place, a vote center, an elections official’s office, or a satellite location. Prohibited electioneering information includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

  • A display of a candidate’s name, likeness, or logo.

  • A display of a ballot measure’s number, title, subject, or logo.

  • Buttons, hats, pencils, pens, shirts, signs, or stickers containing electioneering information.

According to a May 2018 memo from the California Secretary of State’s, a t-shirt with a vague statement like, “Down With Liberals” would be allowed, but a statement for or against something or someone on the ballot would not be permitted. Our take? If you can’t decide whether your planned election day outfit could be construed as a political message, consider changing clothes.

While we’re talking about voting rules, remember that you may vote if you are still in line when the polls close at 8 p.m. Election Day. You can sprint to the end of the line at 7:59 pm, and election officials must still let you vote, no matter how much time that line takes.

Photo: Indigo Handloom

Photo: Indigo Handloom

Finally, Bay Area sustainable fashion business Indigo Handloom is thanking voters who flex their civic duty muscle with 40 percent off any item in their scarf collection. To get the discount code, send a selfie with your "I VOTED" sticker or stub to Indigo Handloom will reply with a special code you can use at checkout for 40 percent off your purchase. Out of those who participate in their #voteyourvalues campaign, Indigo Handloom will also be giving away their Sierra scarf to five lucky winners.

Voting booth/ballot selfies, while not expressly prohibited in California, are frowned upon, so use your best judgment when taking the photo you want to submit.

Regardless of your political leanings, whether you vote in person or by mail, there are a lot of state and local ballot measures and elections that will ultimately affect your life. Even if you’re not currently registered to vote, you can register in person at your polling place and cast a provisional ballot. California makes it easy; if you want to vote, there’s no excuse not to vote.