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Judge Says Pro Wrestling|Fans Can Rock the Vote

HARTFORD (CN) - A federal judge issued an order Wednesday to assure World Wrestling Entertainment fans they can wear WWE garb when they vote. Vince McMahon, whose wife Linda is running for U.S. Senate, sued the state Tuesday, claiming its secretary of state had issued an order that would allow elections officials to bar people wearing WWE clothing or paraphernalia from the polls.

Linda McMahon stepped down as CEO of the WWE to run against Attorney General Richard Blumenthal for the seat being vacated by Sen. Chris Dodd. Her husband assumed the reins of the company.

McMahon is a Republican, Blumenthal a Democrat.

U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton issued a stipulated order on Wednesday that Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz should not apply to WWE fans the state election law restricting political advertising within 75 feet of polling places.

McMahon claimed, and Judge Arterton apparently agreed, that the WWE is "ubiquitously associated with the McMahons," wrestling fans might be told not to keep their shirts on at the polls.

Vince McMahon said he intended to wear WWE clothing when he votes, and said barring the duds would violate WWE fans' civil rights.

Secretary of State Bysiewicz said she was happy with the agreement because it upholds the election law that's on the books. She said she never sought to disenfranchise WWE fans and never said wrestling fans couldn't wear WWE gear to the polls.

McMahon was happy too.

"I am pleased that Connecticut voters have had their freedom of expression to wear WWE merchandise and their right to vote restored," McMahon said in a statement issued from WWE's Stamford headquarters.

Blumenthal's campaign manger Mindy Myers said the campaign doesn't have any problem with voters wearing WWE apparel to the polls.

"We don't consider WWE clothing to be political or covered by any law that restricts political action close to polling places," Myers said. "People should be able to wear their WWE clothes to vote."

Vince McMahon has lamented what he calls attacks on the wrestling industry during his wife's campaign.

His wife's candidacy was met with skepticism and some derision from voters who claimed pro wrestling is misogynistic. Critics also claimed - McMahon said, unfairly - that the wrestling industry is involved with steroids, and that WWE misclassifies its wrestlers as independent contractors.

McMahon launched an Internet-based PR campaign dubbed "Stand up for WWE" to encourage fans to support for the company. WWE has announced it will sponsor a "fan appreciation night" in Hartford on Saturday, three days before the Nov. 2 election.

The most recent polls on the race have McMahon trailing Blumenthal by about 12 percentage points, but Linda McMahon has spared no expense in the race, having already spent close to $42 million of her own money on the race.

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