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Supreme Court Clarifies First Amendment Protections at Polling Places

Washington, DC and Minneapolis – Today, in a 7-2 decision that challenged political apparel at polling places, the Supreme Court ruled in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky that parts of the state’s law are too subjective, making its enforcement unreasonable.

“Today the Supreme Court rightly upheld the distinction between voting and campaigning,” said Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States. “The freedom of speech and expression of political views is a critical part of our democracy, but such expression should never come at the expense of voters exercising their rights at the ballot box.”

The League of Women Voters of the United States, the League of Women Voters of Minnesota, and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law filed an amicus brief in this case, arguing that the Minnesota polling place laws are in place to safeguard the right to vote.

“The Court’s ruling guarantees that polling places are not the time nor place for last-ditch appeals by candidates and their supporters," said Terry Kalil, president of the League of Women Voters of Minnesota. “Today’s ruling upholds the rights of Minnesota and other states legislatures to administer elections."

“While the Court ruled that Minnesota went too far in trying to bar all ‘political’ apparel from polling places, it reaffirmed the core principle that states can bar misleading messages, including about whether identification is required to vote,” said Daniel Weiner, senior counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “Notwithstanding the other aspects of its decision, the Court’s acknowledgment of the state’s interest in voter protection is a win for our democracy.”

“We are pleased to see the court side with voters in this important test of the First Amendment,” said Carson.

Contact: Sarah Courtney | 202-263-1332 | [email protected]