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GOP, State Rumble Over WWE Gear at Polls
BY LeAnne Gendreau and Jeff Saperstone

The state Republican party is blasting the Democratic Secretary of the State over a possible ban on WWE clothing at the polls on Election Day.

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz is letting municipal elections officials know that WWE items – be it your Kane Devil’s shirt, John Cena Never Give Up Pendant or your retro Undertaker replica hat -- might be prohibited by the law that does not allow political material in polling places.

Republican Linda McMahon, the former CEO of the WWE, is in the race for U.S. Senate against Democrat Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, and the state Democratic party is alleging that her campaign and the WWE are coordinating illegally.

"If anyone is wearing that kind of paraphernalia, they would be asked to cover it or remove the jacket or cover the shirt with a coat," Bysiewicz said.

The WWE brand is synonymous with McMahon, the candidate, she said.

"It's so widely known that she was the CEO of that company that we will treat it as if it was a campaign logo for a candidate," said Bysiewicz.

McMahon and her husband, Vince McMahon, created the company. Linda served as CEO until she decided to run for Senate and stepped down.

“There is absolutely nothing in the statute that prohibits someone from wearing an apolitical, nonpartisan piece of clothing to the polls. This opinion seems overtly partisan, and anytime the state starts arbitrarily denying citizens the right to vote, democracy itself is under attack. It’s very, very troubling,” Ed Patru, communications director for Linda McMahon for Senate, said in an e-mail,

Chris Healy, chairman of the state Republican party, blasted back in a news release titled, “Bysiewicz loses mind” and said that, on the day the state Supreme Court reaffirmed her lack of legal credentials, Bysieiwicz is "making up voting rules and procedures.”

Bysiewicz was in the running for Blumenthal's AG seat, but a court decided that she did not have the legal experience to fill the seat.

"There's no WWE products that have Linda McMahon's image on it. ... These are wrestlers. She's no longer the president of the company, so telling voters what they can wear is silly," Healy said. "It's an attack on the first amendment and we're not gonna let her get away with it and if she tries to push it farther we will see her in court," said Healy.

"Denying our fans the right to vote, denying them their First Amendment rights, regardless if they are Democrat, Republican or Independent, is un-American, unconstitutional and blatantly discriminatory," said WWE CEO Vince McMahon.

Susan Bysiewicz has no legal authority to predetermine who votes based on their non-political clothing,” Healy said. “On what grounds does Bysiewicz basing this ridiculous act of voter intimidation?”

 

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