At Issue: June 17 - Supreme Court Ruling on Voting Apparel, Karin Housley in Studio

June 18, 2018 09:22 AM

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down MN Law Banning Most Political Apparel at Polls

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week could have a big impact on what you're allowed to wear when you go to vote. The court struck down a Minnesota law banning most political apparel at the polls. The law will remains on the books, for now, until the legislature changes it. For this election season, it will need to enforced differently.

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The case of Minnesota Voters Alliance vs. Mansky dates back to 2010 when Andy Cilek says he was turned away from a Ramsey County polling place for wearing a Tea Party shirt. He says he was told state law didn't allow political apparel or buttons at polling places. Plaintiffs called the law overly broad and arbitrary. Cilek's attorney says the ruling protects freedom of speech for voters on Election Day.

Secretary of State Steve Simon says apparel that's explicitly associated with a candidate, such as a "Joe Smith for Governor" t-shirt or button, would still not be allowed at the polls. But you could likely wear things like a "Cut My Taxes" button or a "Black Lives Matter" t-shirt. It's not clear if a voter could wear something like a "Make America Great Again" hat since that phrase is directly associated with President  Trump. 

Karin Housley, U.S. Senate Candidate, in Studio

Karin Housley is running as a Republican in the special election for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Al Franken. The seat is currently held by Democrat Tina Smith, who was appointed to the seat in December. In June, Housley became the first woman endorsed by the State GOP to run for U.S. Senate in Minnesota. 

Housley is a current Republican state senator from Washington County. She was first elected to the Senate in 2012. She has made elder care reform, veterans affairs and economic growth some of her key priorities. Housley also owns a real estate business in Stillwater. She is married to NHL coach and Hall of Fame player Phil Housley. 

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Amanda Theisen

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