An early voting controversy is already going on in the state of Georgia.
A Douglas County, GA man, Bundy Cobb, says he feels taken advantage of following his recent attempt to vote early while wearing his NRA Instructor hat.
Cobb was told to remove the hat prior to entering the polling place as it was considered to be campaigning by the poll workers.
The hat simply says “NRA Instructor” on the front along with the image of a silhouette holding a firearm. It makes no reference to campaigning for a particular candidate or cause.
There are no gun related ballot initiatives on the ballot in Georgia for this election, so even the imagery couldn’t be construed as supporting any particular item on the ballot.
Cobb is speaking out says he feels that his first amendment rights to express himself were violated when he was told to remove the hat.
Cobb went on to say that the only message that someone could get from the hat is that he is an NRA certified instructor, which is completely unrelated to any votes on the ballot.
Laurie Fulton of the Douglas County Board of Elections says that courts have found that the NRA has been associated with the Republican Party and thus clothing featuring the organization has been banned from polling places. In my search I was unable to find ANY court case which declared the NRA and the Republican party to be one in the same. In fact, the NRA fairly regularly endorses pro Second Amendment Democrats, normally a dozen+ per congressional election.
I have emailed the Douglas County Board of Elections to get a list of the court cases they are referencing and will update when/if they respond.
Recently Kentucky became one of the first states to have their law banning campaigning at a polling place struck down by a court. A judge ruled that the state’s laws banning campaigning within 300ft of a polling place was an unconstitutional violation of First Amendment rights. It’s unclear if this will represent a wider change in the campaign laws of other states.