MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In June of this year, the United States Supreme Court struck down a Minnesota law that banned voters from wearing political attire at the polls.
Following that decision, the Secretary of State’s office revised its guidance and what is and is not allowed in the polling place on Election Day.
On the website, the guidance reads, “In the polling place, you cannot display campaign T-shirts, buttons or literature which relate to specific candidates, official political parties, or ballot questions on the ballot that day.”
“That’s hats, shirts, buttons, stickers,” said Julia Dayton Klein, a principal with Gray Plant Mooty. “Tattoos even you would have to cover it up if it was a problem.”
She stresses it is important to note what people can and cannot wear relates directly to what is on the ballot that day. For example, a voter could not wear a Jeff Johnson or Minnesota DFL T-shirt, but an Obama or Bush T-shirt would be find because neither of those candidates are on the ballot.
Issues, like #MeToo, would also be allowed because there no specific questions on the ballot related to that movement.
As for a “Make America Great Again” hat, Dayton Klein says that would be allowed in this election — but not in 2020 if the president were to run again.
“Because it’s very tied to his campaign slogan, it’s his campaign slogan, it is clearly related to his campaign,” she said.
When it comes to the increasingly popular “ballot selfie,” Dayton Klein says this is a question of can versus should. People are allowed to take and post ballot selfies, but the Secretary of State’s office discourages it, partly because it does not want to slow down the voting process. Other states have banned the practice due to a fear of potential vote buying.
The state also points out it is against Minnesota law for voters to show their marked ballots to others, so taking selfies with ballots could create problems.
Dayton Klein and the Secretary of State’s office says there is another consideration people need to make.
“You’re not allowed to take a picture of someone at a polling place without their express permission, so if you take a selfie and get someone in the frame who’s not you, that could be a problem,” she said.
Finally, people are allowed to bring in research materials or sample ballots that have been filled out. But, if it is a party- or campaign-affiliated sample ballot, people cannot talk about it or show it around because that could be considered electioneering, which is against the law.