FASHION | The Audacity to Vote


Can we judge the candidates by the clothing they wear? Sarah Palin’s suit on debate night was definitely an Armani glam slam, but if Googling the candidates’ names with “organic” or “sweatshop-free” clothing is any indication of where the candidates stand on the environment, Barack Obama would leap over McCain in a single bound. Companies like Clothing of the American Mind (COTAM), among hundreds of others are offering election-minded, pro-Obama fashion that is either organic, sweatshop-free, or both. From now until election day (November 4th folks!), all COTAM tees are 20% off in their online store, with free shipping and a free Obama love sticker for your car.

COTAM has been linking social responsibility with fashion since 2004 and has been seen on and modeled by celebrities like Amber Valleta (top), Natalie Portman (below), Diane Lane, Jamie lee Curtis and others.


Although harder to find there are sweatshop-free pro-McCain and Palin tees out there for right-leaning greenies too at CafePress (shown right) or Skreened (shown left), who also prints ethically on American Apparel tees. More organic “McCain Palin” tees are available at JoinJohnMcCain. Nothing to speak of style-wise, but the environment doesn’t have to be a partisan issue.


According to the Root, most states will allow you to wear your “Barack, Paper, Scissors” or “Citizen McCain” t-shirt — but it does depend on where you live:

An ominous e-mail has been causing quite a bit of confusion for voters recently. With an urgent warning to recipients, the e-mail claimsthat election officials have the right to turn away any voters wearing campaign paraphernalia to the polls. So what’s up? Can you rock that “Obama Mama” T-shirt to cast your vote on Nov. 4?

In most states, you’re in the clear. Wearing campaign paraphernalia—a button, a sticker and, of course, a T-shirt—in support of any candidate is seen as passive electioneering. Some states are more lenient. In Kentucky, Marylandand Florida, election officials most often make no fuss about voter attire. The only thing banned there is the display of excessive campaign garb (i.e. head-to-toe Obama gear) or outright solicitation. Wearing campaign paraphernalia and lingering in the polling station is also a no-no in those states.

Other states, such as Pennsylvania and New York, maintain laws on passive electioneering while remaining lax in enforcement. In New York, for example, refusing to comply with the request of election officials to remove an item is considered a misdemeanor, but arrests have rarely—if ever—been made.

Not everyone is as laid-back about the issue. In the District of Columbia, strict rules apply. Prior to entering a polling station in the District, everyone is required to remove or cover up any exposed campaign paraphernalia. No exceptions.”

Bottom line: Contact your State Board of Elections to be 100% sure. Or be fashion savvy and dress in layers.


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