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Do voters have a right to wear political garb at the polling booth?

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WHEN the justices hear Minnesota Voters Alliance v Mansky on February 28th, they will face a case that pits the freedom of speech against the right to vote. Clashing fundamental values make for interesting Supreme Court cases, and Mansky promises to be a lively discussion of a tussle between rights that ordinarily point in the same direction. 

Since 1912, Minnesota has barred voters from donning a “political badge, political button or other political insignia” when entering a “polling place on primary or election day”. When Andre Cilek showed up to vote in 2010 wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with “Don’t Tread on Me” and images supporting the Tea Party, as well as a “Please ID Me” button (mocking those who oppose voter-ID laws), he faced resistance. Mr Cilek was turned away, twice, before finally persuading a reluctant election worker to let him vote. These strictures sanitising polling places of all political messages violate the First Amendment, the Minnesota Voters Alliance (founded by Mr Cilek) claims….Continue reading

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