Q&A: Political buttons in polling office

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From the Mount Vernon Democrat:

Q: I have a question concerning political buttons, voting and freedom of speech. Early voting has begun at the Posey County Courthouse, and a sign has been placed on the main entrance to the courthouse asking voters entering the election office to remove political buttons, etc. Can the county require voters to remove such items, or is this a violation of freedom of speech?

A: According to Brad King of the state election division, the polling officials are complying with the law. I.C. 3-14-3-16 prohibits “electioneering within 50 feet of the polls, so voters entering the polling area are asked to remove campaign buttons or cover campaign literature from view. A violation of the law is a Class D felony.

The idea is that voters should have an area free from any influence as to their selections.