OPINION | Barry Richard: SCOTUS Says OK to Wear Political Attire to Vote
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling today that is a huge victory for supporters of political free speech.
The 7-2 decision strikes down a Minnesota law that prohibits voters from wearing political apparel to the polls. The majority says the ban is a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech. Nine other states, including Massachusetts, have bans on political clothing, signs, pins or other candidate endorsements at the polls.
The Washington Times reports the decision and said "it may be possible for states to restrict stridently political T-shirts and buttons, but the justices said Minnesota didn’t justify why its law needed to be so broad."
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority:
“A rule whose fair enforcement requires an election judge to maintain a mental index of the platforms and positions of every candidate and party on the ballot is not reasonable.”
Former President Bill Clinton challenged campaign laws by appearing outside a polling place in New Bedford during the March 2016 presidential primary. Clinton was considered a campaign prop, since his wife Hillary was on the ballot.
Banning voters from wearing their "I'm With Her" or "Make America Great Again" gear to the polls is just dumb. The idea that someone with a "Bernie Bro" hat might unduly influence someone else is crazy.
If you haven't decided who you are voting for by the time you've arrived at the polls and my tee shirt helps you to decide, well, fair enough.
And besides, who cares? Is it not my right to support the candidate of my choice? Why should my political views be restricted?
Do you agree with the decision?
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.