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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Kansas urges Supreme Court to support states' ban on electioneering near polling places

By Mark Iandolo | Feb 21, 2018

TOPEKA, Kan. (Legal Newsline) — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Feb. 14 that he has joined a coalition of 11 state attorneys general in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to find that states may lawfully ban electioneering near polls.

The coalition drafted a friend-of-the-court brief in a case arising from a statute in Minnesota that bans political signs and other forms of electioneering near polling places.

“Amici States … have a strong interest in preserving their ability to enact reasonable and viewpoint-neutral restrictions on speech inside nonpublic forums, including inside polling places to protect their citizens’ right to vote,” the attorneys general wrote in the brief.

According to the coalition, the non-public forum where polling occurs must be preserved, and preservation can involve the government drawing distinctions on content near those forums without violating the First Amendment.

“Minnesota’s restriction on political apparel in the polling place is viewpoint-neutral and a constitutionally reasonable method to serve critical government interests relating to elections,” the attorneys general wrote.

Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Utah joined Kansas in the brief.

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Kansas Office of the Attorney General