Supreme Court declines to hear MN Majority/North Star Tea Party polling place electioneering test case


Via the Star Tribune’s Morning Hot Dish, the Christian Science Monitor reports that the United States Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a case challenging Minnesota’s law that prevents electioneering in the polling place.

This article is reposted from TCDP media partner Bluestem Prairie. Check out the links below for other recent Bluestem Prairie stories:

Warren Richey writes in Tea party and political buttons: Supreme Court declines Minnesota case:

The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a case testing a Minnesota law that bans the wearing of buttons or clothing with messages that election officials deem too political to be worn within 100 feet of any polling place.

The justices took the action in a one-line order without comment. It lets stand a federal appeals court decision upholding the statute.

The Minnesota law seeks to prevent campaigning and electioneering by candidates and their supporters at the locations where voters are casting their ballots. But an array of conservative groups challenging the statute said it went far beyond preventing electioneering and violated the free speech rights of voters to express broader political ideas without facing government censorship.

The lawsuit was filed by various conservative political groups, including the Minnesota North Star Tea Party Patriots, that complained the law would prevent voters from wearing T-shirts proclaiming “Don’t Tread on Me” and buttons urging election officials to check voters’ identification. . . .

A federal judge threw the lawsuit out, and a federal appeals court panel agreed. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2 to 1 that polling places were not locations open for public debate so the government could justify some restrictions on free speech.

State officials say the statute barring political messages is a reasonable regulation of speech at a polling place. It imposes a neutral requirement that applies to everyone equally, they say.

In upholding the law, the Eighth Circuit panel said the statute was justified in restricting messages about any political campaign at a polling place. . . .

On November 1, 2010, Talkingpointmemo’s Ryan J. Reilly reported in Federal Judge To MN Conservatives: You Can’t Wear ‘I.D. Me’ Buttons At Polls:

A federal judge ruled on Monday that conservatives in Minnesota rallying against voter fraud will not be allowed to wear their “Please I.D. Me” buttons to polling locations, according to the Associated Press. . . .

Ericksen’s ruling has been filed with the court. “The record suggests that the buttons are designed to affect the actual voting process at the polls by intimating that voters are required to show identification before voting,” she wrote. “This intimation could confuse voters and election officials and cause voters to refrain from voting because of increased delays or the misapprehension that identification is required.”

Reilly later reported in MN Anti-Voter Fraud Group: Ignore Judge’s Ruling Against ‘I.D. Me’ Buttons that Minnesota Majority had urged people to wear the buttons despite the ruling, while making absurd comparisons of their aggressive campaign material to Vikings shirts and crosses. Okay then.

Yes, Minnesotans, we have a right to enter a polling place and cast our ballots without having a bunch of intrusive twits carry on about voter suppression.