‘Civil rights violation’

To The Editor:

I was refused my right to vote today due to my political attire. Not only did this violate my civil rights as guaranteed under the 15th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it also violated the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision which determined overly broad state laws that ban wearing political messages inside polling places are unconstitutional.   

I was told that I could not vote while wearing the hat I wore. I was told to take it off. I knew this request was unlawful; however, the representative of the town clerk saw it differently. I told her she was wrong and would post this situation in the newspaper. Her response was to roll her eyes at me.

I went home (without voting), printed out a copy of the U.S. Supreme Court decision, called the secretary of state's office and left a message outlining what had occurred. Before I could return to the polls with my printed documents, I received a phone call from the secretary of State saying they had been in contact with the town clerk to remedy the situation.

I returned to the polling station and provided them with a copy of the printed law, which was folded over without being read. I could have stayed at the polls the first time and made them call the police, got arrested, and sued for a violation of my rights, but taxes are already high enough in this town. So I took the high road. Too bad the person(s) manning the polling station could not reciprocate. At very least, an apology would have been nice.

Bob Richard

Waitsfield VT

The Valley Reporter - serving Vermont's Mad River Valley since 1971