Could a poll worker stop you from wearing any t-shirt that expresses a certain viewpoint?
That’s the fundamental question at stake in a court case testing a Minnesota state law that polices what you are allowed wear in a polling place when exercising your right to vote.
Any day now, justices will decide whether polling places can be both a vital forum for the exercise of personal liberty and at the same time a place where free speech rights are respected.
Minnesota outlaws any t-shirts, buttons, caps, or other apparel containing “political” content at the polling place. The problem, of course, is that “political” frequently is in the eye of the beholder — in this case, on-site volunteer “election judges”— and the law is enforced at the election judges’ whim. A voter who runs afoul of this overly broad law could face prosecution and civil fines up to $5,000.