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Wearing Political Messages at the Polls in Minnesota

Robert Timothy Reagan, Margaret S. Williams, Marie Leary, Catherine R. Borden, Jessica L. Snowden, Patricia D. Breen, Jason A. Cantone
January 24, 2019
Available Online Only

Minnesota Majority v. Mansky (Joan N. Ericksen, D. Minn. 0:10-cv-4401)
On the Thursday before a general election, a federal complaint challenged proscriptions on wearing Tea Party shirts and “Please I.D. Me” buttons at the polls. On the following day, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order. The district judge heard the case on Monday morning and denied immediate relief. Following nearly five years of additional litigation, including an appeal, the judge granted the defendants summary judgment, finding the proscriptions justified as promoting decorum at the polls. The court of appeals agreed that it was reasonable to ban political apparel to ensure a neutral, influence-free polling place, but the Supreme Court decided that the proscription on speech relating to issues not actually on the ballot was too broad.
Subject: Polling place activities. Topics: Campaign materials; matters for state courts; news media; attorney fees.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.