published Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Tea party shirts spark polling place controversy


by Andy Johns

Officials with the Georgia Secretary of State's Office told election officials Friday that tea party shirts and hats are not allowed in polling places after supporters were kicked out of voting precincts in Walker and Catoosa counties.

Tea party leaders say they should be able to wear their gear because they are not a political party.

The tea movement, an acronym for Taxed Enough Already, has gained traction in conservative North Georgia and Southeast Tennessee over the last two years. The loose organization claims to be nonpartisan, but its endorsements in several races are mostly Republicans and Libertarians.

James Groce, head of the Walker County Tea Party, said he was kicked out of a Chickamauga voting precinct last week for wearing a Walker County Tea Party shirt.

He said he was allowed to vote after calling the elections office and threatening to call U.S. marshals. He said the shirt does not promote any candidate or party affiliation.

"I said, 'Where do you see Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Independent on my T-shirt?'" Groce said. "If you're being told that you need to go change clothes before you vote ... that is a violation of civil rights."

Walker County Elections Supervisor Barbara Berry said that, when she first called the secretary of state's office, she was told that allowing or disallowing tea party gear would be a local decision.

On Friday, however, the state office held a statewide web conference to explain that tea party paraphernalia should not be allowed.

"The word from the secretary of state's office is that no one can wear the tea party shirts, buttons or hats into our polling places," Berry explained.

Matt Carrothers, a spokesman for the secretary of state's office, said state law covers more than just political parties and candidates' names.

He cited a section of Georgia code that states: "No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method, nor shall any person distribute or display any campaign literature, newspaper, booklet, pamphlet, card, sign, paraphernalia, or any other written or printed matter of any kind" inside any polling place.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

25
Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
slr3 said...

Let me see , black panthers are allowed to intimidate voters in Philadelphia but T party logos on clothes get you kicked out of polling places. Hummmmmmmmmmmmm!!!

October 30, 2010 at 8:38 a.m.
rolando said...

But they are black male intimidaters, sir3.

TEA Party folks come in all colors, genders, religions, etc. And they are non-violent.

It is not nice to discriminate against one particular group...that is called a "hate crime". But it IS perfectly OK to burn everyone else, particularly the non-violent.

Bet this post gets yanked. Someone's feelings are bound to be hurt by this truth...

October 30, 2010 at 9:03 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

"No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method, nor shall any person distribute or display any campaign literature, newspaper, booklet, pamphlet, card, sign, paraphernalia, or any other written or printed matter of any kind" inside any polling place."

Why is that so hard to understand?

October 30, 2010 at 9:20 a.m.
fairmon said...

I wonder how many voters were influenced? No campaign or potential campaign logo's, clothing, literature etc. should be allowed at a polling place including those with signs at the entrance. It is scary to think any voter would be influenced at the point of entering the polling place, surely not.

October 30, 2010 at 9:31 a.m.
ceeweed said...

Rolando, Do you think that man-handling a woman to the ground and, while she is pinned down, another goon stomps on her head is non-violent? Your point is laughable. I have never seen footage of any tea party event that was anything more than a sea of white with a random freckle or two. I do give you credit for making the comments section of the TFP very interesting. Yanking your post would be wrong and I would be the first to defend your 1st Amendment right to express your opinion.

October 30, 2010 at 9:36 a.m.
rolando said...

lkeith -- Dictionary.com defines "solicit" as, "3. to seek to influence or incite to action..."; the second part of the law covers everything else.

That law prohibits a T-shirt, etc with even one word or any picture on it -- that one word could be something as simple as "VOTE".

Or a picture of a school mascot or zoo newborn. I have a coffee cup from the Cincinnati zoo bearing a picture of a baby elephant that the law would bar. The meaning behind the law must be considered. Common sense is necessary.

As with so many things under the law, it is not the difficulty in understanding that law but in comprehending the interpretation and how that interpretation was made.

For instance, forcing the complete removal of anything Christian from a school on a 1st Amendment basis, yet allowing special rooms, foot baths, recess periods, etc for Muslims in that same school. [Have you called the ACLU yet about all those universities that do it?]

Or making a worker remove clothing with his name on his company-provided shirt; a person wearing a company provided jumpsuit with logo; or with a Harley-Davidson jacket or anything with a name or picture embroidered on it.

So I ask YOU, lkeith...what is so hard about understanding the law?

October 30, 2010 at 12:40 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

"For instance, forcing the complete removal of anything Christian from a school on a 1st Amendment basis, yet allowing special rooms, foot baths, recess periods, etc for Muslims in that same school. [Have you called the ACLU yet about all those universities that do it?]"

Evidence, please.

"Or making a worker remove clothing with his name on his company-provided shirt; a person wearing a company provided jumpsuit with logo; or with a Harley-Davidson jacket or anything with a name or picture embroidered on it."

Workplaces may set their own rules-freedom of expression does not apply.

The rule clearly states that anything related to voting for a particular candidate, party or issue is not allowed in. They may remain outside at a prescribed distance. That is the law-you haven't come close to making a case here that Tea Party logos are exempt.

October 30, 2010 at 1 p.m.
SeaSmokie59er said...

This is the code verbatim.

21-2-413(d) No person, when within the polling place, shall electioneer or solicit votes for any political party or body or candidate or question, nor shall any written or printed matter be posted within the room, except as required by this chapter. The prohibitions contained within Code Section 21-2-414 shall be equally applicable within the polling place and no elector shall violate the provisions of Code Section 21-2-414.

My 7 year old understands it and she also points out spelling mistakes at TEA party rallies.

Go Vols!

October 30, 2010 at 1:03 p.m.
SeaSmokie59er said...

BTW 21-2-413 also states:

(i) No person except peace officers regularly employed by the federal, state, county, or municipal government or certified security guards shall be permitted to carry firearms within 150 feet of any polling place.

Just in case you were wondering.

October 30, 2010 at 1:06 p.m.
SeaSmokie59er said...

Oops! Almost forgot to practice what I preach and site my references. Law.justia.com (Georgia Codes)

Hopefully it will catch on and we can start spreading facts instead of fiction.

October 30, 2010 at 1:13 p.m.
rolando said...

The TFP yanks posts here on a regular basis, ceeweed, seemingly based on someone's complaint. Have you noted the "suggest removal" in the bottom right of each post?

I have not watched the vid you mentioned, although I heard of it; I wouldn't put much credence in it if I did. Anyone can post that kind of stuff or edit it to show anything they want. And "objective reporter" is a contradiction in terms in today's media.

The best example I can think of demonstrating this is the Rodney King beating by the LAPD some years ago.

Mr King had a violent past, ignored by a media that wanted to paint a picture of police brutality -- a picture that sells papers. They never showed Mr King's earlier refusal to stop his car, to obey lawful police orders, of his ignoring his friends who tried to stop his violent actions toward the police; edited out was Mr King's repeated attempts to get to his feet against police orders, etc etc. [They did go over the top.]

I strongly suspect the same thing in your cite. And, since blacks historically vote in a bloc of 95% Democratic, I am not surprised you saw few in the crowds...it doesn't mean they aren't there, especially this election.

October 30, 2010 at 1:21 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

rolando, where is the source of the claim you made?

"For instance, forcing the complete removal of anything Christian from a school on a 1st Amendment basis, yet allowing special rooms, foot baths, recess periods, etc for Muslims in that same school."

Also, you did not explain why tea party logos should be exempt from the law.

October 30, 2010 at 1:24 p.m.
rolando said...

Still another demand for evidence, huh? Well, lkeith, I would remind you of your comment on another thread on that very evidence. YOU were the one who commented on everyone's duty to call the ACLU. So I ask again, have you called them?

October 30, 2010 at 1:40 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

You have not given any evidence that the particular claim is accurate, so my answer is no (and I wouldn't unless it was true, which I won't accept until you have provided the evidence to support it) The ACLU would ask me to provide evidence before they investigated.

By the way, you have NEVER provided any evidence to support your claims except for one time in which you quoted narth, which is a biased and hence unreliable source. But that is another topic entirely.

October 30, 2010 at 1:56 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

I guess that's a long way of saying that you are lying.

October 30, 2010 at 1:56 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Of course, you could provide evidence and prove me wrong, but somehow I doubt it.

October 30, 2010 at 1:57 p.m.
rolando said...

Thanks for the complete Georgia text, SeaSmoke. Quite a bit different than that provided earlier. MUCH more definitive.

Under that law, logos/pictures, etc on T-Shirts would be allowed so long as they did not solicit votes for any party, group, candidate, etc. The TEA Party is not a registered or established political party [as yet]. There are a number of "TEA Partys", each with different leadership.

By the way, lkeith, what proof do you have that any state has the law you cited? it is NOT in Tennessee Code [using SeaSmoke's cite].

October 30, 2010 at 1:58 p.m.
rolando said...

One further exception to the concealed firearm within 150 yds of a polling place; any retired sworn LEO, federal officer or agent, or federal Marshal may carry around or within a polling place. [Search Congress for the bill.]

October 30, 2010 at 2:02 p.m.
rolando said...

Exactly where did I say it was illegal under election code,l keith? That was the subject of the post -- a clarifing note if you will [which you probably won't].

Your wrongness is self-evident.

Back to personal attacks, are you? Well, enjoy.

October 30, 2010 at 2:06 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

One further exception to the concealed firearm within 150 yds of a polling place; any retired sworn LEO, federal officer or agent, or federal Marshal may carry around or within a polling place. [Search Congress for the bill.]

That I'm sure is true.

Tea Party is a political group, and should be included in the ban. That you disagree is clear, that you have reason to disagree is not.

And I am pretty sure now that your comment regarding universities is wrong. It is a mixture of information about providing religious facilities (chapels, etc) for students at state universities (which is true and legal) and endorsing one religious view (which is neither true nor legal) That you could not and would not provide a source is pretty obvious.

Not spending another minute on this beautiful weekend arguing circles against your dishonesty. Hittin' the road...

October 30, 2010 at 2:08 p.m.
SeaSmokie59er said...

The Tennessee Code 2-7-111 States: (b) (1) Within the appropriate boundary as established in subsection (a), and the building in which the polling place is located, the display of campaign posters, signs or other campaign materials, distribution of campaign materials, and solicitation of votes for or against any person, political party, or position on a question are prohibited. No campaign posters, signs or other campaign literature may be displayed on or in any building in which a polling place is located.

 (2)  Except in a county with a population of not less than eight hundred twenty-five thousand (825,000) nor more than eight hundred thirty thousand (830,000) according to the 1990 federal census or any subsequent federal census, a solicitation or collection for any cause is prohibited. This does not include the normal activities that may occur at such polling place such as a church, school, grocery, etc.

 (3)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any person from wearing a button, cap, hat, pin, shirt, or other article of clothing outside the established boundary but on the property where the polling place is located.

Keyword: 'outside'

You have to read the whole thing, like the Constitution or the Bible, not just the parts you like.

October 30, 2010 at 2:39 p.m.
anniebelle said...

It's interesting to see these teabaggers sans hood - they can hang all the teabags off their hats, shirts, coats, kids, dogs -- just so they identify themselves as the scary people they truly are. We can only hope that sanity wins over fear and hatred.

October 30, 2010 at 3:12 p.m.
acerigger said...

Never fear Ikeith, since Rolando won't give up the names of those schools and universities,I put in calls to Glenn Beck and Bill O'really(?) to find out. Soon as they call me back with the facts I'll post it for ya. yer welcome.

October 30, 2010 at 8:10 p.m.
sd said...

In 2007 the University of Michigan at Dearborn decided to build footbaths for use by Muslim students. Apparently, Muslim students were washing their feet in the bathroom sinks and the sinks were coming off the walls. The campus administration viewed it as a maintenance issue, but the decision was considered controversial because some felt it violated the separation of church and state. UMD ultimately decided to build the footbaths with non-taxpayer funds and that's where the coverage of the story ends.

In another thread Ike pointed out that many universities have chapels. Footbaths are a facility to accommodate religious worship, just like prayer and meditation rooms and chapels, and are not an endorsement of one religion over others. Obviously if UMD did not allow Christians to use prayer rooms, for example, and only allowed Islamic facilities there would be a problem, but that's clearly not the case.

You can search for "footbath" at the UMD campus newspaper, the Michigan Journal, to see my sources. If I link them here TFP deletes the post.

October 31, 2010 at 5:59 p.m.
please login to post a comment

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.