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WWE garb allowed at polls, Connecticut judge rules (whew!)

WWE CEO Vince McMahon sued to make sure supporters of his wife Linda McMahon wouldn't run afoul of electioneering rules if they wore WWE merchandise to the polls.

By Staff writer / October 27, 2010

WWE performer Rey Mysterio signs the mask of a young fan during a visit to a Chicago Kmart store on Saturday Jan. 23.

Peter Barreras/AP

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If you’re a Stone Cold Steve Austin fan who’s registered to vote in Connecticut, we’ve got great news! A federal judge has ruled that it’s OK for you to dress up like your hero when you go to the polls to cast your ballot next Tuesday.

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No, we’re not making this up. On Wednesday US District Judge Janet Bond Arterton ruled that Nutmeg State election officials must allow voters to wear World Wrestling Entertainment-themed clothing to the polls.

Such garb cannot be considered political advertising for former WWE CEO and current Connecticut GOP Senate candidate Linda McMahon, said Judge Arterton.

So in this instance at least it appears that the US judiciary fully supports a constitutional right to bare arms.

“I am pleased that Connecticut voters have had their freedom of expression to wear WWE merchandise and their right to vote restored,” said current WWE CEO Vince McMahon, Linda McMahon’s husband.

OK, OK, we’re aware that this case is not really about voters who possibly want to look like a wrestler per se. It’s about those who might be wearing even a WWE logo on a T-shirt within 75 feet of the polls.

In Connecticut, as in most states, it’s illegal to overtly electioneer that close to the actual ballot box. And last week, a spokesman for the state’s top election official had said that WWE items might be construed as political, given Ms. McMahon’s background. This raised the possibility that wrestling-fan voters might be asked to cover up if they appeared with “WWE” on a hat, shirt, or other piece of clothing.

Mr. McMahon quickly filed a lawsuit to clarify the situation. He won. Smack down!

Vince McMahon was trying to make an issue where there wasn’t one. So the lawsuit didn’t have traction because it didn’t have a legal basis,” said Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, a Democrat. “So I am happy that this issue is cleared up so we can just move on with a smooth election.”

So what will the likely tens of individuals this ruling affects actually wear? The WWE online shop offers many good ideas, from a Stone Cold Steve Austin Adult Halloween Costume, which features a 100 percent polyester muscle chest with attached vest, to a Randy Orton Viper Top T-shirt, to a simple Rey Mysterio Blue/Silver Replica Mask (only $49.99!).

Overall, the Connecticut Senate race has been a tough match, but at this point Ms. McMahon’s opponent, the Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, has the upper hand, according to polls. The Real Clean Politics average of recent surveys puts him 12.5 percentage points in the lead.

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