Free Speech Under Attack
If we are to remain a free people, we need the foundation of the First Amendment. Free Speech guarantees every individual the freedom to express private opinions and beliefs publicly. Without public discourse and the freedom of associations, we will lose the greatest gift from our founding fathers.
Colorado Amends Law After Win in Pillar Ballot Selfie Free Speech Case
DENVER, CO. – Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1014 yesterday, amending the state’s election law to allow voters to take and share photographs of their own marked ballots, an activity known as taking a “ballot selfie.” The bill followed a preliminary injunction in the case Hill v. Williams in November, which ruled that the previous version of the law—which prohibited ballot selfies—was unconstitutional. Pillar of Law Institute attorney Stephen Klein serves as co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the case.
“This is a big win for a simple but important act of free speech,” said Klein. “It’s no longer a crime to take a ballot selfie in Colorado.”
Colorado state senator Owen Hill, joined by young voters Scott Romano and Colin Phipps, brought the lawsuit in October after then-Denver District Attorney Mitchell Morrissey issued a press release threatening voters with misdemeanor charges under the law for taking and posting ballot selfies. After a nearly two-day hearing, Judge Christine Arguello of the United States Court for the District of Colorado issued a preliminary injunction, ruling the broad ban was unsupported by any governmental interest.
“The Colorado General Assembly should be commended for taking quick action to rectify the law,” said Klein. “This saves us years of litigation and appeals just to stop criminalizing how hundreds, even thousands, of Colorado voters celebrate their vote.”
The Pillar of Law Institute is a nonprofit public interest law firm. Located in Washington, DC, Pillar represents citizens nationwide against unconstitutional censorship of political speech. Klein joined lead counsel Michael Francisco of MRDLaw in Denver and co-counsel Daniel Domenico of Kittredge LLC in the case.
Pillar is also counsel in a case challenging Michigan’s ban on ballot selfies and photography in polling places, Crookston v. Johnson, which continues in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan.
Stephen Klein, Attorney