Arizona judge says voter will be allowed to wear Tea Party shirt to polls on Election Day

Diane Wickberg will be allowed to wear her Flagstaff Tea Party t-shirt to the polls on Nov. 2.

A federal judge in Arizona approved a temporary agreement on Wednesday, allowing the grandmother to don her shirt in support of the Tea Party movement when she votes. But the case could go to court after this year’s election.

The Goldwater Institute filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Wickberg this summer after poll watchers told the Arizona woman that she was required to cover her Flagstaff Tea Party shirt while voting. Officials said wearing the shirt was considered electioneering. Wickberg argued that her rights were being violated, as her shirt did not endorse any candidates or political party.

The lawsuit was filed against Coconino County in Arizona and its recorder, Candace D. Owens. According to the Yuma Sun, Owens said she only agreed to the temporary order to save the county money, and still thinks the shirt breaks electioneering rules.

The Goldwater Institute declared victory. “We hope this victory will provide a civics lesson to government officials who substitute their own subjective values and political biases for objective rules,” said Clint Bolick, the Goldwater Institute’s litigation director.

The judge’s injunction allowing Wickberg to wear her shirt expires after Nov. 2. and the Goldwater Institute as pledged to “pursue this lawsuit to make sure that Coconino County uses objective standards in the future to enforce the state’s ban on electioneering at the polls.”

Wickberg is not the only Tea Partier whose attire has been questioned at the polls. The Daily Caller reported this week that a Texas woman was told she couldn’t vote because she was wearing a Gadsden flag button. That image is popular among Tea Party activists.

  • Sonny119

    You Go Tea Party.!!!! We have 2 elections to take back the country, on 2 Nov. and 6 Nov. 2012.!!! And NO one is going to stop us, especially no liberal city, county, or state election clerk, bureaucrat, or Judge, and especially NO blatant racist black panther member, period.!!!!

  • djmoore

    I see the arguments for letting this pass, I really do. I support tea partiers, and I hope they — we — make a big enough impression on 2 Nov to keep this nation from going right over the cliff.

    That said, and given that this is a very gray and fuzzy line, it’s not a line I want to get anywhere near. Michelle Obama clearly crossed it, and we were right to get upset about that.

    The fact that Ms. Wickberg was so insistent on wearing the shirt shows that she wanted to make a campaign statement, however subdued. That violates the spirit of the event, if not the letter of the law.

    It is essential to maintain the dignity and propriety of the polls.

    Campaign all you want. Post signs in your yard. Wear t-shirts for weeks, and wear your favorite on election day.

    When you arrive at the polling place, slip another shirt over it. Go in, vote quietly and anonymously, leave, and reveal your tee again for the rest of the day.

    The statement you make by voting is greater than anything you could print on your shirt.

    Voting is supposed to be anonymous. Keep it that way.

    [Tip of the campaign-button-studded hat to those who militantly do NOT vote, who regard the whole thing as a charade in which you agree to submit to your masters, rather than hiring a humble servant. But please: if you do vote, do it with dignity.]

  • baal

    There’s a link on Drudge talking about a girl in houston getting turned away for wearing an Obama shirt. Last election there were plenty of obama shirts and other political paraphenalia. My thoughts on the matter is that this whole thing is completely RETARDED. I didnt get intimidated by a shirt or the fact that practically everyone else except me was wearing them….
    T shirts. Seriously. Are we as a country that sensitive? Turned away for a tea party shirt? This is RIDICULOUS!

    We are not talking about black panthers carrying billy clubs or the klan goose stepping around. T shirts… jesus.

  • Momma M

    Good Deal. The TeaParty is less a political party than it is an attitude.

  • moira1987

    Yet another attempt by the Left to intimidate voters gets squashed…for the time being, anyway. Why are Leftists so determined to take away the civil rights of American citizens?