Tuesday, March 15, 2011

AZ County Settles Federal Lawsuit Over Tea Party Shirts

As part of the settlement, Coconino County has agreed to implement objective standards at voting precincts to enforce the state electioneering law while protecting the voters' right to free speech. The new standards are based on a decision issued by U.S. District Court Judge James Teilborg in a similar suit brought in October 2010 by the Goldwater Institute against Maricopa County, which had issued a ban on T-shirts with the words "tea party" on them.

Coconino County's new rules define electioneering to provide that only conduct that advocates for or against a candidate, a political party, or an issue on the ballot may be banned at the polling site. The county has also agreed to provide additional training to poll workers for objective enforcement of election laws and to protect against discrimination in the polling place.