Issues and Cases

The First Amendment doesn’t allow the government ban all political apparel at the polling place

Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky


Contact: Wencong Fa, Deborah La Fetra and Oliver Dunford

Status: Petition for writ of certiorari filed on May 31, 2017.

Summary:
Minnesota bans individuals from wearing “political” apparel near and within a polling place.  This ban encompasses not only campaign-related apparel, but also run-of-the-mill t-shirts with any logo by any organization that the State deems “political,” such as the Tea Party, AFL-CIO, Chamber of Commerce, NRA, NAACP, and so on.  PLF Client Andy Cilek is a Minnesota voter and Executive Director of the Minnesota Voters Alliance.  In November 2010, an election official told Andy Cilek that he violated Minnesota law by wearing Tea Party shirt with the slogan “Don’t tread on me,” and a button that states “Please I.D. Me” to the polling place.  Cilek sued on grounds that Minnesota’s political apparel ban violated the First Amendment because it was overbroad.  The Eighth Circuit upheld the ban, and Cilek has asked the Supreme Court to review that decision.

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