Trump supporter turned away at the polls

September 27, 2018

By Pat Maurer

Be careful what you wear when you head to the polls in November.

One hopeful voter in the primary election August 7th, was turned away because of what he was wearing when he went to Hayes Township to cast his ballot.
Jim Taylor was not allowed to vote in the Hayes Township primary election because he was wearing a Trump shirt.

His wife Laura Taylor said when the election worker noticed the shirt, he told Jim political attire was not allowed at the polls. Jim protested saying Trump was

Jim Taylor wearing the shirt that caused workers at the August primary to refuse to allow him to vote.

Jim Taylor wearing the shirt that caused workers at the August primary to refuse to allow him to vote.

not even on the ballot. The worker became loud and threatened to call the police if Jim didn’t leave, Laura said.

Laura said Jim went outside and walked home. She said when Hayes Township Clare came over to see what the problem was, the worker said it was just a “crazy guy.”

Another election worker Ken Hoyt recently posted, “We were instructed in training that political merchandise would not be allowed. It doesn’t even have to be a current candidate. You can cover it up and vote, (we had shirts you could borrow to wear over it) or you could go change to something non political. But if you insisted on wearing it you would not be allowed to vote.”

Later at home using the internet Laura found a Supreme Court decision on a similar matter in Massachusetts. Their decision verified the couples belief that Jim should have been allowed to vote.

She found that the Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 decision in June that a law in Minnesota banning political attire at polling places violates the First Amendment. The case stemmed from elections in 2010, when state officials initially prevented a voter in a Tea Party shirt from casting a ballot due to a 1912 state law prohibiting “political insignia” at polling places.

After finding the court decision, Jim’s wife Laura protested Jim’s treatment at the polls with a personal message on Facebook to the Clare County Clerk Lori Martin.

Martin contacted the Bureau of Elections to confirm that the shirt could be worn at the polls because President Trump was not on the ballot for that election.

In a letter to Mrs. Taylor, she said, “I have communicated this to the Hayes Township Clerk, Debra Hoyt, and she understands the difference between a candidate that is actually on the ballot and a candidate that is not currently on the ballot now. Ms. Hoyt has assured me she will train her election workers on this issue. You should not encounter a problem in the future if your husband wears his Trump shirt to the polls if Trump is not on the ballot.”

Martin thanked Mrs. Taylor for bringing the matter to her attention.

Ken Hoyt also commended Laura in a post. He wrote, “Thank you Laura for following up on this. Training for the November election is on October 16th and I was going to ask, but you have gotten it (the answer) for me. Thank You for doing it ‘the right way’.”

“People need to know what they are allowed to do, or wear at the polls,” Laura said. “I’m glad it is cleared up.”

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