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Looking at the WWE merchandise/voting controversy in Connecticut (with video)

On Friday, it was reported that the Connecticut secretary of state told election officials that they can ask voters clad in WWE t-shirts and hats to cover them up before allowing them to vote on Nov. 2 because wearing the merchandise could be interpreted as campaigning.

Campaigning – which includes wearing political paraphernalia – within 75 feet of polling places is illegal in Connecticut. Because Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon is the former WWE CEO, the wearing of WWE apparel could be seen as political advertising, a spokesman for Connecticut secretary of state Susan Bysiewicz told cnn.com.

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The statement by Bysiewicz, a Democrat, has sparked outrage from Connecticut Republicans as well as Vince McMahon. In the video below, which is part of WWE's "Stand Up for WWE" campaign, the WWE chairman claims that the first amendment rights of WWE fans are being violated.

I know that a lot of people roll their eyes whenever Vince McMahon – who has a reputation for being ruthless in business and an overbearing boss – tries to portray himself as a victim, but it's pretty difficult to argue with him on this point.

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Bysiewicz's spokesman pointed out that there was a similar situation in California, when voters were asked not to wear any Arnold Schwarzenegger garb when he was running for governor. I think there's a big difference, however, because there's no such thing as a WWE t-shirt that bears Linda McMahon's likeness. I also think it's a stretch to assume that just because someone is wearing a John Cena cap or an Undertaker t-shirt that they're voting for Linda McMahon.

It just seems to be a case of politics as usual – and both parties are guilty of such tactics. Is there any wonder why there is such voter apathy? Instead of the parties trying to figure out ways to suppress the vote, election officials should be doing everything in their power to make it easy for people to vote.

OK, I'm off my soapbox.


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