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Groups Sue Over Clothing Ban

Anita Kumar

Three Virginia groups sued the State Board of Elections and the registrars of Richmond and Fairfax County, challenging a controversial policy that bans the wearing of buttons, T-shirts and other clothes with political messages in polling places.

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, the Rutherford Institute and the ACLU of Virginia argue that the policy violates the First Amendment rights of voters and is inconsistent with Virginia statute. They are asking a federal court to strike down the policy as unconstitutional before the next state and local elections in 2009.

"Election Day should be a time for celebrating the personal freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution," said Robert M. O'Neil, director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. "On that of all days, government should not be telling citizens how to express themselves."

By Anita Kumar  |  December 10, 2008; 10:57 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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