Sunday, June 24, 2018

Supreme Court to Minnesota: First Amendment Rights Don't End at the Polling Booth

With just two weeks to go until the end of its term, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky that Minnesota’s ban on so-called “political” apparel at the polls on Election Day violates the First Amendment.

With Thursday’s decision, the High Court has restored the ability of voters in Minnesota to express their views on everything from the Second Amendment to the #MeToo movement.

Minnesota had a very restrictive law that not only prohibited active campaigning in polling places but also barred voters from wearing badges, buttons, and other items with a “political” message. But the state’s definition of what it considered to be “political” was so broad that even a T-shirt that simply said “Vote!” could be prohibited.

The Court was right to invalidate Minnesota’s law, which prevented Andrew Cilek, the executive director of the Minnesota Voters Alliance, from wearing his “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirt and a “Please I.D. Me” button to the polls on Election Day.

Minnesota said that if you showed up at a polling place wearing a T-shirt with the historic and famous Gadsden flag on it — the first flag of the Continental Marines — you could get thrown out.

Apparently, wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a coiled rattlesnake and the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me” is a “political” message that must be banned.

While states have legitimate interests in ensuring the integrity of their elections and preventing intimidation, coercion, and other harassment of voters at the polls, they don’t have a legitimate interest in stamping out speech on clothing because it might “trigger” people at the polls.

The ability to speak your mind and express yourself is a foundational right in American society, and that should extend to the polls on Election Day. Some limits to prevent harassment, intimidation, and the like are reasonable, but the Minnesota law was the exact opposite of reasonable.



Bird of Paradise said...

As long as Minnasota is a U.S. State it must abide by the U.S. Constitution and that also means this democrat idiots

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but if you show up to vote, you already have made your decision; and someones T-shirt is NOT going to change your mind. If it does, you are not intelligent enough to be casting a vote, and need to go back home.