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Internet Voting Myths

October 3rd, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

There is no prohibition in Florida law about what voters can wear on election day. Shirts and pins for Obama or McCain are perfectly legal and people wearing them will be allowed to vote. But as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the paraphernalia may be legal, but there is an underground campaign underway to confuse voters.

There is an internet rumor campaign targeting students and new voters. Text messages and emails are circulating telling students they wont be able to vote if they show up with a campaign shirt or pin. Tony Bornelus says he hears it all the time from students purchasing Obama shirts at his campus stand.

I tell them its a myth, Bornelus said. That is infringing on your freedom of speech. So you can wear your shirts anywhere you want to. And then they tell me oh, you cant. And then we go back and forth.

So widespread is the rumor that letters have been sent out by the state reminding supervisors to train poll workers about the internet myths.

The only people that are restricted in what they wear at the polls are the people that work at the polls, Secretary of States spokesperson Jennifer Davis said.

But the rumor persists.

One of these students told us they got not one, but ten text messages on the same day.

We met student after student who took the rumor as gospel.

Heres the rub. Beatrice Jean has signed up as a poll worker.

Its not a rumor, its true, Jean said. Youre not supposed to come inside with a pin. Everybody knows that. Excuse me, everyone who has voted in the past knows that. Theyre not supposed to publicize that, so they should know that.

The good news is that Beatrice and other poll workers start training next week.

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