New South Dakota Bill Would Allow Political Apparel at Polls
We've covered political apparel at polling locations extensively. The issue continues to be a hot-button topic, with a political apparel ban in Minnesota even reaching the Supreme Court. More and more states are voting to end political apparel bans at polling locations, and it looks like South Dakota might be the next state to make the shift.
According to the Star Tribune, a new bill will be debated at the state's upcoming legislative session that would allow voters to wear political apparel and buttons while voting. Those in support of the bill say its a free speech issue, and that those rights are not currently being protected. Republican Rep. Drew Dennert is a sponsor of the bill, and he said that as long as voters are not being disruptive while wearing the apparel, they should be allowed to don their shirts and buttons. He went on to say that a friend of his was voting in the 2016 presidential general election, and had to turn his shirt inside out in order to vote.
"I think we probably can loosen it up as long as there's not people who are trying to persuade you how to vote in the polling place," Dennert said. "I don't see how if someone's wearing a T-shirt or a campaign button, how that's going to negatively affect anything within the polling place."
The next legislative session begins Jan. 8, and it will be interesting to see if South Dakota follows in Minnesota's footsteps. While many support the proposed changes, there is definitely some pushback from opponents who say that political apparel might make voters uncomfortable, and that the current law in place is fair.