Feb. 8, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Election Day Drama May Cap ‘Weird’ Cycle

State officials have announced that perfect spelling of the write-in candidate’s name will not be required. The focus instead will be on voter intent. Of course, that’s open to interpretation, and it’s unclear whether a declaration of just “Lisa” or “Lisa M.” would be sufficient on a ballot, especially given that a person named Lisa M. Lackey qualified as a write-in candidate last week.

“I fully expect that there will be people on the ground monitoring that one closely,” said Randy Lewis of the Tea Party Patriots, which has coordinated poll watching shifts across the country but hasn’t offered specific training.

“Some organizations are far more developed than others,” Lewis said of the local tea party affiliates. “Many are sophisticated. In other places, they’re going to be a little less sophisticated.”

In Connecticut, it’s not the tea party but rather wrestling fans who might make headlines today.

The state’s high-profile Senate race pits state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) against Linda McMahon (R), the co-founder of World Wrestling Entertainment.

Amid swirling criticism, the Connecticut secretary of state issued guidelines late last week that could prohibit voters from wearing certain WWE clothing items within 75 feet of any polling place.

The WWE has become a central campaign issue in the race. The organization, led by McMahon’s husband, launched an aggressive public relations campaign in recent weeks to combat Blumenthal’s allegations of steroid use by wrestlers and employee mistreatment by the organization.

There’s no blanket ban on WWE T-shirts or hats, according to the secretary of state’s office. But each polling moderator will have the discretion to assess whether clothing actually “solicits” for or against one of the candidates.

“Even when an individual is found to be wearing campaign material in violation of the 75 foot restrictions, they should never be told to leave the polls,” a statement from the secretary of state’s office reads. “They should be simply asked to remove or cover the item or apparel in question.”

There have been several incidents of violence among opposing protesters in the weeks leading up to Election Day, and local law enforcement agencies are prepared to boost security at the polls if needed.

Passions have run high in Nevada, but a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety reports that elections officials have not requested a greater police presence. There are contingency plans in place, however, should they be necessary.

“We’re ready if they need us,” Gail Powell said.

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