Most voters know who they are going to vote for before they ever arrive at the polls, but there are those that are never sure who to cast their ballot for, not even after the ballot has been cast. Some believe that these voters are susceptible to other influences while at the polls, including someone wearing a shirt, jacket, hat, pin, patch or anything that could give the slightest preference for any one candidate, political party or issue on the ballot. Seeing these things are believed to be able to sway those unsure voters into where to cast their votes.
In some instances, someone wearing an American flag t-shirt, hat or jacket with an American flag pin, has been accused of showing a political preference within the hallowed space of the voting booths. To most people, this is not a problem, but to diehard anti-American neo-com Democrats, those are clear signs of the Republican Party and therefore should not be allowed to be visible past a certain point of demarcation at polling places.
This prompted a law passed in Minnesota that bans any and all attire that depicts or even insinuates the possible leaning toward anything or anyone political, at polling stations throughout the state. Minnesota statute Section 211B.11 reads so vaguely, that even wearing anything that depicts a labor union (like the AFL-CIO), patriotism (hat of shirt that says Don’t Tread on Me), social organization like the NAACP or anything associated with a political party, candidate or issue, can be considered banned from polling places.
I can understand banning overtly political clothing and accessories from entering the polling place, things like Vote Hillary, Vote Trump or Vote Yes on Prop 2, sort of things, but when an American flag, union emblem and a general patriotic item is banned that’s going too far in my book and the book of many others.
That’s why a lawsuit (Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky) was filed, challenging the constitutionality of this ‘fashion police’ law. Representing the Minnesota Voters Alliance is the Pacific Legal Foundation. According their website:
“On February 28, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in our case challenging a Minnesota election law that literally strips free speech rights from the backs of voters. A Minnesota state law prohibits voters from wearing “political” apparel at a polling place. This includes any t-shirt, button, or other item that identifies any political issue and even any organization that is known to take positions on political issues. Voters who wear AFL-CIO or NRA caps are told they must remove them before they can enter the polling place and vote. If they refuse, election officials take their names for possible prosecution and penalties up to $5,000. Lower courts upheld this law on the theory that government can ban all expression, besides voting, at a polling place.”
“What’s at stake?
- By banning all political expression, Minnesota essentially created speech-free zones at polling places throughout the state. These speech-free zones are incompatible with the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.
- Ten states impose political apparel bans and all fifty states restrict political speech to some extent at polling places. Supreme Court review of this case could establish strong protection for free political speech nationwide.”
As this case is coming up for oral arguments before the Supreme Court, keep in mind that in the 2008 presidential election, two members of the New Black Panthers were videoed in the act of intimidating voters at a polling location in Philadelphia. The Department of Justice charged both men with voter intimidation, but, then Attorney General Eric Holder ordered that all charges be dropped and the men released. Many believe that order came directly from the White House, since Obama was photographed marching with both men in a 2006 demonstration.
I bring this up because leading Democrats defend voter intimidation when it works in their favor, but then turn around and pass laws like in Minnesota to overtly silence any and all free speech and restrict apparel and accessories that anyone interprets as political or patriotic.
What happens in the Supreme Court could well determine what you will be allowed to wear or say when you go to vote this year in the midterm elections.