Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Election Law
  • Date Filed: November 13, 2017
  • Case #: 16-1435
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: http://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/17/02/151682P.pdf
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether a Minnesota Statute that bans voters from wearing any political badge, political button, or other political insignia at the polling place is facially overbroad under the First Amendment?

Minnesota Election Law provides that any “political badge, political button, or other political insignia may not be worn at or about the polling place on primary or election day.” Minnesota defines “political” as “[i]ssue oriented material designed to influence and impact voting” and “[m]aterial promoting a group with recognizable political views.” Petitioner Andrew Cilek went to his polling place during the November 2010 election, wearing a button and a t-shirt made by the North Star Tea Party Patriots. The button said “Please I.D. Me” and the t-shirt had a small Tea Party logo next to a “Don’t Tread on Me” message, along with an image of the Gadsden Flag. An election worker refused to allow Cliek to vote. Petitioners filed a complaint, alleging that the Minnesota statute violated the First Amendment on its face and as-applied. The district court dismissed the case. The Eighth Circuit upheld the statute, holding that it is not overbroad under the First Amendment. Petitioners argue that the statute creates a virtual First Amendment Free Zone and is facially overbroad, chilling the free speech rights of voters.   

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