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PIERRE | A South Dakota legislative panel on Monday rejected a bill that would have let voters wear political attire while casting their ballots.

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted unanimously against the measure, which would have allowed voters to wear political clothing and buttons while retaining a prohibition on campaign posters and signs inside polling places or near their entrances.

Right now, the law says people can't display campaign posters, signs or "other campaign materials" in a polling place or within 100 feet of its entrance.

Republican Sen. Stace Nelson, the bill's main sponsor, said he believes South Dakota's law violates people's First Amendment rights.

"If we continue down this line and we have someone that ... tries to enforce this at the polling place and harasses an actual voter, South Dakota could get sued," Nelson said.

Democratic Sen. Craig Kennedy, a bill opponent, said the measure was an "unnecessary and unreasonable" change to what's permitted in or near polling places.

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The bill came after a Supreme Court ruling last year striking down Minnesota's broad restrictions on voters wearing political hats, T-shirts and pins to the polls.

Most states restrict what people can wear when they vote, but Minnesota's restraints were some of the broadest. The high-court ruling did say states can place limits on such apparel.

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