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Ohio reviewing Supreme Court ruling on what voters wear to the polls

Published: Thursday, June 14, 2018 @ 10:29 AM
Updated: Thursday, June 14, 2018 @ 2:31 PM

            Supreme Court strikes down polling place dress codes
Supreme Court strikes down polling place dress codes

A ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a Minnesota law that limits what voters can wear to the polls could have an impact in Ohio.

The Ohio Secretary of State is reviewing the 7-2 ruling that was announced Thursday, said Sam Rossi, spokesman for the office.

Ohio prohibits people from wearing campaign garb when casting a ballot but poll workers cannot block them from voting, even if they refuse to cover or remove the clothing. Such incidents are reported to the local board of elections, which may refer it to law enforcement, Rossi said.

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Ohio’s prohibition falls under state law and a Secretary of State directive, which has the force of law. Both sections are included in the precinct worker manual.

Related: Election day dress code sparks controversy

The justices ruled that the Minnesota law violates the First Amendment, but suggested that some restrictions on what people can wear to vote are permissible.

Most states have laws restricting what voters can wear to cast their ballots, but Minnesota’s law is one of the broadest. It bars voters from casting a ballot wearing clothing with the name of a candidate or political party or related to an issue on the ballot.

Related: State OKs money to replace voting machines ahead of 2020

Minnesota voters also can’t wear clothing promoting a group with recognizable political views.

The state had defended its law as a reasonable restriction that keeps order at polling places and prevents voter intimidation.

Information from the Associated Press is included in this report.

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