Politics Magazine

Court Overturns Minnesota Law On Political Clothes At Poll

Posted on the 15 June 2018 by Jobsanger
Court Overturns Minnesota Law On Political Clothes At Poll
Court Overturns Minnesota Law On Political Clothes At Poll Court Overturns Minnesota Law On Political Clothes At Poll All of the states refuse to allow political activity within a certain distance of the voting polls. Here is Texas, it 100 feet. Nine states also restrict a voter from wearing clothing, buttons, hats, logos that support a political party, candidate or issue ( if that issue is on the ballot or could be taken by others as supporting a particular party or candidate). Those states are Minnesota, Texas, Delaware, Kansas, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Vermont.
I have been a poll worker, assistant elections judge, and elections judge in multiple elections here in Texas, and I have had to ask voters to leave that were wearing such apparel. Sometimes they could just leave, turn a shirt inside out (so the message could not be read), and then come back and vote.
Shirts like those pictured at the top were easy. They obviously support a political party, and would not be allowed. The green shirt on the left and the white shirt on the right are more of a judgment call. However, I would not have allowed them, because to me (and I think most voters) the green one could easily be read to say "vote Democratic" and the white one "vote Republican".
The Supreme Court just struck down the law in Minnesota. On a 7 to 2 vote, the law was deemed to be too broad, and did not strictly identify what it meant by "political". Did that decision apply to any other states? Maybe not. Justice Roberts, writing for the majority, seemed to indicate that the Texas and California laws were constitutional. He said:
"Texas, for example, bans “a badge, insignia, emblem, or other similar communicative device relating to a candidate, measure, or political party appearing on the ballot, or to the conduct of the election.” Roberts also pointed to California, which bans the display of information “that advocates for or against any candidate or measure,” including the “display of a candidate’s name, likeness, or logo,” the “display of a ballot measure’s number, title, subject, or logo,” and buttons, hats or shirts containing such information.
So, don't wear your political clothing to the polls in Texas this November. It is very likely you will not be able to vote until you leave, change, and come back, because the court did not overturn the Texas law -- and the same is true of the other seven states.
I urge everyone to vote, but the polls are not the place to try to convince others how to vote, or the place to start a political argument over the clothing you are wearing. Poll workers have a difficult enough job to do. Don't make it more difficult for them.

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