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Woman Told To Cover Ronald Reagan T-shirt At Polling Place

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Ronald Regan (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Ronald Regan (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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GURNEE, Ill. (STMW) – A T-shirt celebrating the upcoming 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth got Mary Jo Tenuto, of Gurnee, into a little political hot water, so to speak.

When Tenuto, a sociology professor at the College of Lake County, went to vote at the HeatherRidge golf course, she thought nothing of wearing the pink shirt honoring the 40th president and Illinois’ native son.

But when a poll worker saw it, Tenuto was asked to cover it up. The election judge told her “it was ‘sort of’ electioneering,’’ which isn’t allowed in polling places, said Tenuto, 35.

But Tenuto claimed she “wasn’t lingering. I was just voting. I wasn’t flaunting it.’’ Nevertheless, she zipped up her jacket and voted — and left upset.

“I felt like this is an infringement on my rights. I’m putting on a T-shirt. It wasn’t endorsing a party. . . . Ronald Reagan is dead. He is not on the ballot,’’ she said.

But election judge Becky Lang explained that earlier in the day, someone came in wearing a shirt advertising the Republican party. She said she confirmed with the Lake County clerk that she acted properly in asking Tenuto to cover up.

“I was on high alert for anything like that,’’ said Lang, who declined to give her party affiliation. “ . . . We have to tell them it’s just not allowed. Just like cell phones aren’t allowed.’’

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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