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Supreme Court strikes down polling place dress codes

When Andrew Cilek showed up to vote in 2010 wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirt and a button that said “Please ID Me,” he was told to cover them up or take them off before he could cast a ballot. He was finally allowed to vote after a poll worker took down his name and address for possible prosecution, but he was never charged.

Delaware, Kansas, Montana, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont have laws similar to Minnesota’s. South Carolina also has a restriction, but it applies only to what can be worn inside the polling place by candidates themselves, not voters.

The National Association of Counties and other local government groups, in a friend-of-court brief, urged the court to uphold the law, saying it helps cut down on Election Day delays and fights. “For all the progress the United States has made in the past century, polling-place problems are still widespread,” the group said.

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