Trump ‘MAGA’ hats allowed, but Biden gear banned under California’s in-person voting rules


“Make America Great Again” baseball caps are shown in this undated photo. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

California election rules prohibit clothing, signs and swag urging support for a specific candidate at polling places, but state officials have decided no such ban exists on items emblazoned with the slogan “Make America Great Again,” a mantra championed by President Trump.

If there’s a distinction between a shirt bearing the name of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and the ubiquitous hats featured prominently in Trump’s online store, it may be lost on voters come election day.

“I want to make sure the public knows what the rules are,” said Kammi Foote, the registrar of voters in Inyo County. “I don’t want to be accused of favoritism allowing MAGA gear but telling people with a Biden/Harris mask to remove it.”

California has long differentiated between political slogans and what the law defines as “electioneering” — displaying information about a candidate or campaign — at a polling place or vote center. Last month, state elections officials made clear that gear bearing the Trump slogan would not be considered synonymous with showing support for the president’s reelection.

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