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.
Pillar of Law Institute Challenges Colorado “Ballot Selfie” Ban
DENVER, CO – The Pillar of Law Institute filed a lawsuit on behalf of Colorado voters Owen Hill and Scott Romano in federal court today, challenging a state law that officials believe prohibits photographing one’s own marked ballot and displaying it on social media —commonly known as a “ballot selfie.” The lawsuit responds to a stern declaration late last week from the Denver District Attorney warning that ballot selfies are illegal in Colorado and punishable as a misdemeanor.
“Ballot selfies are not a problem to be solved; they’re an exciting new form of free speech,” said Stephen Klein, Pillar attorney and counsel on the case. “Despite thousands of citizens taking and posting ballot selfies nationwide, with no documented problems, some states continue to dig in and argue that they are dangerous.”
Owen Hill is a state senator from Colorado Springs who intends to vote in-person on election day and would like to post a ballot selfie of his marked ballot on his Facebook page. Scott Romano of Littleton recently turned 18, will vote using Colorado’s mail-in voting for his first election, and also would like to take and post a ballot selfie.
“For everyone from elected officials to first-time voters, ballot selfies are becoming more popular because they are an unequivocal way to express support for candidates and causes,” said Klein. “We often hear pundits and officials speak out about getting more citizens to participate in elections; threatening voters with jail time for celebrating their vote is not the way to do it.”
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. This is the second ballot selfie lawsuit brought by Pillar, and the first continues as a challenge to similar laws in Michigan and is seeking preliminary injunction. Pillar is joined by co-counsel Michael Francisco of MRDLaw in Denver.
Stephen Klein, Attorney