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Texans: Don’t make polling sites spooky on Halloween. Just leave this in the car

Many love to celebrate Halloween by dressing up. Election officials just ask that the masks come off when Texans are in polling places to vote.
Many love to celebrate Halloween by dressing up. Election officials just ask that the masks come off when Texans are in polling places to vote. dkent@star-telegram.com

A tip for Halloween voters: Leave your masks and Donald Trump costumes in your car.

But just while you are voting.

Texas election officials say anyone planning to vote on Halloween is more than welcome to wear their costume into polling places.

Just no masks, painted faces or costumes resembling people on the ballot or politicians such as President Trump.

“Keep celebrating the beauty of democracy and enjoy Halloween when you do it,” said Heider Garcia, Tarrant County elections administrator. “Just make sure whatever you wear still allows the judge to verify your identity.”

That’s because, under state law, election judges need to see photo IDs of voters — and make sure the pictures look like the person voting.

Masks and clown makeup would conceal that.

“When you show your ID, the person has to see your face,” Garcia said.

This year’s election has already drawn more than 3.3 million Texas voters to the polls. Topping the lengthy ballot is the premiere race for the U.S. Senate between Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

Early voting runs through Friday and polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. all week.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Campaign T-shirts, hats, buttons — and political costumes resembling candidates on the ballot and well-known politicians such as the president — are still not allowed inside polling places because they would violate electioneering laws.

Texas law states that electioneering happens when someone wears campaign paraphernalia inside a polling place or within 100 feet of a door where a voter could enter the building.

Election judges are in charge of making sure campaign materials don’t make it inside.

They generally will ask people to remove the materials, or, if it’s a shirt or jacket, perhaps ask that voter to turn the article of clothing inside out.

“If you’re dressed up like Donald Trump, that won’t be allowed,” Garcia said. “It would be like wearing MAGA hats.”

For more election information, call the Tarrant County Elections Office at 817-831-8683.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley
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