Munford, TN – When Christy Renfrow and her husband Jeff arrived at the polls to vote early for the Presidential Election, she was shocked when a poll worker informed her that she had to either leave or cover the text on her shirt. The shirt she was wearing, had “BENGHAZI” across the chest, and the names of the four men who lost their lives in the fateful attack on September 11, 2012.
“My husband is a veteran (Navy) and I come from a very long list of veterans in my family,” Renfrow said in an interview. “We live in a military town. I have a ton of very dear friends who have or still do serve.”
Though laws exist that prohibit the wearing of campaign paraphernalia to voting sites, Renfrow did not feel her shirt was political (and we at Nine Line agree). “I said, ‘What are you talking about? Benghazi is a place on a map. This shirt is not political!’ He said it was and that I had to leave and couldn’t come back until it was covered.”
Renfrow put on a hoodie over her shirt, voted, and left the property. She and her husband immediately began posting about the incident on social media. “I was pissed! Still am. That should never have happened to me! I’ve read the Tennessee law. I did not break it!”
The attack in Benghazi on an American compound resulted in the deaths of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and three US military members: Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods. The tragedy has been cited as a major failure by Hillary Clinton, who at that time was serving as Secretary of State under President Barack Obama.
Tennessee state law regarding political paraphernelia at voting locations is as follows:
“It is the opinion of the Coordinator of Elections, State of Tennessee, that “the display of” means showing or making something public within the 100- foot boundary. “Campaign materials” encompasses not only the items listed in T.C.A. 2-7-(b), i.e., “Campaign posters, signs or other campaign materials… or other campaign literature” but to also mean all political paraphernalia, i.e., hats, buttons, pins, cards, tee-shirts and anything else that may be worn or carried for its political message. “Solicitation of votes” includes all verbal and non-verbal campaign or politicking. Thus, wearing or carrying campaign items constitutes solicitation of votes and is prohibited.*
What Benghazi REALLY Means
The shirt Renfrow wore was designed to honor those men who lost their lives in the Benghazi attack, and the legacy they left behind them, and in no way references Clinton or the Obama administration. It carries no political message, nor advocates a candidate. It references a tragic event that many associate with Hillary Clinton, which is not (according to the aforementioned statute) illegal.
In the past few days, many other Nine Line Apparel fans have come forward with their own stories of backlash for wearing their “Benghazi” shirts to voting locations. We are honored to be able to support our fans, and we are ever grateful for their support of us.
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