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WWE Clothing & Apparel Allowed at CT Polls

October 29, 2010

WWEWWE clothing and apparel will be allowed in CT voting polls next week despite previous attempts to block it from being permitted. A federal judge Wednesday ordered that no one be barred from wearing clothing or paraphernalia related to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to the polls. U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton issued the order in response to a lawsuit filed by WWE Chairman Vincent McMahon against Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.

Arterton ruled that Bysiewicz and other election officials "shall not apply the election laws of the state of Connecticut to prohibit Plaintiff and other voters from wearing WWE clothing, paraphernalia or merchandise within 75 feet of polling places on November 2, 2010."

"I am pleased that Connecticut voters have had their freedom of expression to wear WWE merchandise and their right to vote restored," McMahon said in a press release.

On Tuesday, however, Bysiewicz had issued her own clarification of election law that aligns with Arterton's order.

"In preparing for this election, be advised that it is the position of this office that simply wearing WWE apparel at the polls, including apparel with the trade name or logo of the WWE or the name or photograph of any WWE entertainer that does not display the name or photograph of Linda McMahon, U.S. Senate candidate, or the name or logo of Ms. McMahon's campaign does not trigger a violation," Bysiewicz's statement said.

The controversy, which resulted in McMahon's lawsuit, arose from news media reports over the weekend that Bysiewicz's office had advised election moderators that they could tell voters wearing WWE garb at Tuesday's election to cover it up or leave and change their clothing.

Bysiewicz Tuesday strongly denied ever giving that advice, saying that she would not advise barring a voter from the polling place unless the candidate's name or picture was visible, or unless the voter was campaigning within the 75-foot limit.

McMahon's wife, former WWE CEO Linda McMahon, is the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate against Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

"Some people made the assumption that our office first issued some directive or ruling" but it did not, Bysiewicz said. "We have never said that someone would be banned from voting based on some article of clothing. ... People's right to vote is absolutely precious."

She added that asking someone to go home and change their clothing would be "tantamount to being disenfranchised" and would not be permitted. However, campaign buttons bearing a candidate's name or picture or politicking in the polling station are not allowed.

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