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Kansas Officials Warn Against Electioneering

This story was written by Whitney Hodgin, Kansas State Collegian

Early voting begins today, and Kansas State University students who are registered and ready to cast their ballots in Manhattan should leave their political propaganda at home, said Deputy County Clerk Jolene Campbell.

Items like campaign buttons, placards, stickers, shirts and any other paraphernalia must be at least 250 feet from any polling area, she said.

Non-compliance with these stipulations could result in a class C misdemeanor and most likely a fine.

Advance voting sites include central county election offices or satellite advance voting sites. Voting officials said they are adamant about keeping the voting environment as neutral as possible.

When people come in to the clerks office for early voting and they are wearing a T-shirt that endorses any candidate, we make them turn the shirt inside out if they want to vote, Campbell said.

Briana Jackson, senior in public relations, said she was not aware of the rule until she ran into Mary Brownback, wife of Sen. Sam Brownback, at a day camp that doubled as a polling area in Topeka last summer while wearing a T-shirt promoting Ron Thornburgh for secretary of state.

Mrs. Brownback informed us that we werent allowed to wear that stuff within a certain space of a polling area, Jackson said.

I was completely surprised, she said. But I dont think it would swing people in any direction.

Zack Swim, senior in electrical engineering, did not know about the stipulation either, and is concerned about the number of students who will unknowingly participate in electioneering.

I think it should be publicized better because I think a lot of students will be turned away. Its caged in the fact that a bigger law prohibits pushing your candidate in the poll area. Its annoying, but its fair, he said.

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