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Polling place dress codes may apply this year

Hettinger County may have a dress code for election workers who tend to voters June 12.

County Auditor Roy Steiner said Friday he may tell his workers not to wear clothing with the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux logo.

Measure 2 would allow UND to retire the logo if passed.

According to North Dakota Century Code, "no individual may buy, sell, give, or provide any political badge, button, or any insignia within a polling place or within 100 feet from the entrance to the room containing the polling place while it is open for voting. No such political badge, button, or insignia may be worn within that same area while a polling place is open for voting."

Someone wearing Fighting Sioux apparel is an indicator that the person is proud of the name and will likely vote against the measure, Secretary of State Al Jaeger said.

"I think what is so different with the Fighting Sioux logo is that vote is very specific," he said. "They may not be consciously trying to sway other votes, but in a sense that's what the law is referring to -- electioneering."

Violators of the century code would be guilty of an infraction, which carries a fine of up to $500. County state's attorneys will get to decide how to enforce the law, Jaeger said.

Stark County State's Attorney Tom Henning said counties would probably have to advertise the dress code before elections are held, adding it may be hard to enforce it.

Steiner wasn't sure if he would ask voters not to wear apparel with the logo on it.

"If a voter comes in wearing one, I think he is going to be there a short time," he said. "He'll be in and out, so it won't matter much."