David Coale Talks to the Houston Chronicle about Voter Clothing Restrictions Lawsuit

A Houston woman who wore her firefighter’s T-shirt inside out in order to vote and a Dallas-area man who couldn’t wear his “Make America Great Again” cap to election polls have filed a civil rights lawsuit in hopes of changing Texas law. A Supreme Court ruling last year invalidated a Minnesota law that banned voters from wearing “issue- oriented” clothing to polls. Attorney David Coale provides insight on the issue: “The Supreme Court said it was a legitimate state interest to have a polling place free of distracting political activity. But by doing so, it still requires the election official to make judgment calls about what ‘relates to’ the election…and also means that the official can get it wrong,” Coale said. “The argument that a ‘MAGA’ hat ‘relates to’ the subject of this election is not a strong one. I think that is why the Pacific Foundation focused on this case as its test case, to get some law made on how far away from the specific subject of an election you can be and still ‘relate to’ it.”

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