In New Hampshire, days before you head to the polls, state leaders are warning people you will likely see guns at polling places, even at schools, so don’t be alarmed.
But what might surprise you, is a new amendment to an already existing law that now prohibits people from wearing hats, pins, articles of clothing with any campaign material that could influence other voters. So leave your “Make America Great Again” hat or your “Stronger Together” shirt at home.
“I think this time around, it’s a little bit different,” said Merrimack Police Chief Mark Doyle.
Doyle expects emotions will be running high for voters on Election Day, so he and other law enforcement leaders across the state are beefing up patrols.
“To make sure that folks going to vote feel safe enough to be able to do so,” Doyle explained.
Meanwhile, the district election officer is reminding people that this is an open carry state, so there’s no need to panic if you’re casting your ballot next to a person with a gun.
“They’re just going to exercise their right to vote,” said Assistant United State Attorney Mark Zuckerman.
Zuckerman says it’s even legal in Granite State for someone to bring a firearm into a school polling location, as long as they have a concealed carry permit.
“It’s their state right to carry and if they’re not creating any problems, there is no reason to be concerned,” Zuckerman explained.
For the first time in New Hampshire, it will be illegal to wear any stickers, pins, hats, or clothes with a political message that could influence other voters. Merrimack voter Keith Cox calls it an attack on free speech.
“It’s ridiculous,” he told NECN. “I’m going to wear a hat that says ‘Make America Great Again.’”
“Those individuals are going to be asked to cover it up, wear a jacket or a moderator-provided smock, which will be happening here in town,” Chief Doyle explained.
Despite unprecedented volatility during this campaign, state leaders don’t expect any trouble on Tuesday.
“We really don’t anticipate problems this year,” Zuckerman said.
And regardless of his current frustrations, neither does Cox.