Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to Nearly Got Disenfranchised For Wearing A Pot Leaf T-Shirt to the Polls

Posted By on Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 11:25 AM

A writer in Fayetteville, who goes by the name of “Hogeye Bill,” posted this story yesterday of his adventure when he went to vote in Washington County. Though not wearing a shirt taking sides on the medical marijuana issue, he encountered a certain amount of resistance when he went to cast his ballot.

Reading over his account, one can’t help but wonder what other sorts of T-shirts might be frowned at over at the polling place.

Issue 1 on the ballot, for example, proposes a constitutional amendment to levy a temporary sales tax for our state highways, bridges, county roads, city streets, bridges, what-have-you. There is more, but you get the general idea. But what if . . .

You came to vote wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a bridge, car, truck, road, highway sign or even a picture of a famous street, for example? Would you be turned away?

Issue 2 would authorize counties and cities to create districts within their areas for redevelopment projects. What if you showed up to vote wearing T-shirts bearing the images of buildings that may well be within such districts, should Issue 2 be passed?

Or just any sort of building? A skyscraper? Bank? A picture of the Walton Arts Center, perhaps?

All without comment - just pictures, as the pot leaf T-shirt was?

Going back to the medical marijuana question, what if . . .

You had, say, a picture of a hospital, a stethoscope, a headstone marking a grave, a bottle of pills, or a picture of Abbie Hoffman?

Well, here is Hogeye Bill’s account of his Grand Voting Adventure. You can be the judge.

Voting Can Be Fun:
How I Nearly Got Disenfranchised For Wearing A Pot Leaf T-Shirt to the Polls

Voting, like the violence it substitutes for, is permissible in self-defense. So I decided to go "early vote" against taxes, prohibitions, and whatever other government depredations the rulers are trying to pull off. I put on my clothes, including a 20-30 year old t-shirt with a big old marijuana leaf on the front, with the lettering "Legalize Today, Get High Tonight." Just as I was leaving to walk to the Washington County Court House, I thought, "They might not like my t-shirt," so I grabbed a miniature recording device just in case they hassled me.

I got through the police/metal detector checkpoint okay, and went up the stairs to the County Clerk's office where people vote. At the first desk I signed the early voting application, and turned to go to the voting booth. I was intercepted by a poll worker, who asked me to turn my shirt inside out because, she claimed, I was electioneering. I explained that, unfortunately, marijuana legalization was not on the ballot so it was not. She asked me into an office, and called the county clerk (and two burly police officers) into the room. Here's the transcript:

Hogeye Bill: Okay now, here's the deal. Legalization is not on the table. I wish it were. She'd have a point if legalization was on the ballot. It is not. This shirt is 20 years old and was made before medical marijuana was even an issue. Now let's make an analogy. Suppose I had a car on my shirt. Is she going to say I'm promoting the highway tax, question 2? No, she's not. Or an oil company (logo.) It's just a leaf, like a car. This is not campaigning at all. (Indicating my hemp leaf belt buckle.) Wearing a hemp hat is not campaigning at all. Because the issue (on the ballot) is narrow, about medical marijuana and setting up a fascist regulatory agency.

County Clerk: And I can see your point. However, when we train our poll workers, when we talk about what electioneering is ... for instance if you came in and were wearing a Bush-Cheney t-shirt or an "I miss Bill" t-shirt, or anything that referenced a political party, or an issue, or anything like that, we consider that electioneering.

HB: What would be a t-shirt that would reference an issue rather than a party or candidate?

CC: For instance, when we have a school election, if the teachers come in and it's for a millage, and they're wearing their school uniform, because they are part of the school district seeking the millage - even if they come in with a Holcombe Elementary t-shirt...

HB: If they had something that said "Support Education" are you going to make them turn it inside out?

CC: If they come in and had a t-shirt that said "Holcombe Elementary School" and that school district was asking for a millage, and they represent the school that's asking for the school millage, then yeah, we do.

HB: Of course, this is nothing like that. This says nothing about any political issue except legalization, which isn't on the table.

CC: I think we're talking semantics here. Someone who generally saw your t-shirt and knew that medical marijuana was on the ballot ? that's the assumption they're going to jump to. And we have to guard against that. And so, you may be well versed in legalization of marijuana, and the benefits of marijuana - your hemp hat and all of that - you're well versed in that. But the typical voter here is not geared into as much as you are.

HB: But I don't have to cater to "the typical voter." I'm just saying this does not electioneer, objectively.

CC: But we're saying, in our eyes, it IS electioneering. Because it is very prominent, it is very ? that's a marijuana leaf on your shirt, and its says "legalize today." And the medical marijuana act is what they are talking about, and I know that the two ?

HB: So if I had a car on my shirt, would you make me take it off or turn it inside out? Because that's promoting the highway tax, right? It's the same thing, exactly. Or if I had a Texaco t-shirt, or Conoco, or any kind of oil company or anything about roads - you're not going to make someone ? a trucker - you're not going to make someone take off a trucker's hat! (laugh)

CC: We make sure the bus drivers ? We're just trying to guard against anyone accusing us of electioneering, or not keeping anyone else from electioneering.

HB: I understand. So, are you going to let me vote or not?

CC: Yeah, you can vote. We're just asking you to ?

HB: I am not going to take off my shirt or turn it around. Now are you going to let me vote or not. Because I think that's a way over-restrictive policy, and, if you have a right to vote, then you are violating it.

CC: I think, we'll err on the side of caution and let you vote in the office here, and take the issue to the Secretary of State's office for their guidance. As long as you leave the building, unless you have other business here.

HB: No. I plan to vote and leave. Okay. A wise decision!

But you see the point we're trying to make, though.

HB: Yeah. You're trying to be overly restrictive. ? But I understand. It's your job. You have to be overly restrictive. You're a bureaucrat.

So they let me vote with a paper ballot in the office, and then I left, escorted by the policemen. BTW the officers indicated that the door cop at the metal detector should have intercepted me, so if you, too, decide to mess with the statists, you can either make a ruckus at the courthouse door, turn it inside out for the doorman and then reverse it before you get to the clerk's office, or put on the t-shirt after you clear the front door metal detector.

I voted "straight ticket" radical libertarian. I didn't vote for ANY candidates, since I oppose anyone ruling me. (Or my friends and neighbors.) I voted against making it easier for towns to tax (NO on issue 1), against increasing highway robbery (NO on issue 2), against prohibition (YES on issues 3-5, loosening of gambling and pot prohibition.) So out of a three page ballot, I voted on five things and left the rest blank.


Quote of the Day

A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday. - Alexander Pope



Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Richard Drake

  • Trump’s Cleveland Address: 400 Score and 70 years ago

    The man who had been cleared by his very own personal physician as likely to be the healthiest man ever to assume the office of President of the United States flexed his large, powerful hands, his thick, lengthy fingers adjusting his Chinese-made Trump Tie and peered out at the huge crowd in the stadium.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Trump campaign accuses Obama administration of “misusing” time travel technology

    A GOP spokesman today denied allegations that Melania Trump “borrowed” parts of her speech to the GOP convention, and said that the incident proved what Donald Trump has believed all along - that the Obama administration has been using time travel technology in order profit politically.
    • Jul 19, 2016
  • The Terrible Truth about call-in shows

    There was a time when I was terribly enamored of television and radio call-in shows - until I had my own for several years and discovered the Terrible Truth: most of these (especially with a local audience) shows have about 17 committed callers.
    • Jul 17, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Fayetteville: Obviously, the only solution is to ban all public restrooms

    When the young man came to the house yesterday delivering something which we had ordered, he expressed appreciation for the “Vote Against Repeal” sign in our front yard.
    • Dec 7, 2014
  • ohn La Tour: Nothing says I trust the people of Fayetteville like being a poll watcher

    Newly elected Fayetteville alderman John La Tour is certainly getting off on the right foot with the people of Fayetteville - he is serving as a poll watcher with the group Repeal 119, which is on the lookout for Fayetteville voters who aren’t actually Fayetteville voters.
    • Dec 8, 2014
  • Lest we forget: Fayetteville has been a community where violence has been committed against the gay community

    While no doubt those who were trembling at the thought of sending their sons and daughters into public restrooms alone can now sleep the sleep of the just (and the paranoid), and those who also relish the idea of turning away business from those they find yucky can run up and down the streets in victory, it might be a good time to quietly reflect on the fact that, though some might vociferously deny it, in the not-so-recent past, Fayetteville hasn’t been such a healthy place for those who have been gay, or even the children of those who have been gay.
    • Dec 9, 2014

Most Shared

  • Tackling autism, child by child

    An Arkansas Children's Hospital doctor is testing a new drug that targets one of a host of ailments the highly individual disorder can cause.
  • 1957 all over again

    Last week, the State Board of Education voted to ignore federal courts and allow school district transfers that will encourage segregation.
  • Death penalty lives

    Barely clinging to its flagging life, the death penalty got a merciful reprieve last month from the unlikeliest quarter, the Arkansas Supreme Court.
  • Drinking culture

    Here we go again. At the rate these campus sexual abuse sagas are making news, it's reasonable to ask what college administrators can possibly be thinking about.



© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation