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Monday, May 27, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Maine Law on Endorsers Violates Free Speech

(CN) - A Maine law requiring a political candidate to obtain and recite the authorization of endorsers in political advertisements abridges the candidate's freedom of speech without a compelling state interest, the Maine Supreme Court ruled.

In a 2006 campaign for a seat in the Maine House of Representatives, candidate Jennifer Duddy accused fellow candidate Michael Mowles of violating a Maine election statute when he used two endorsement quotes from Mowles' failed 2004 campaign.

The Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices found that Mowles violated the election law and fined him $1.

The state high court vacated the commission's judgment and found the Maine election law unconstitutional, ruling that Mowles never misrepresented the truth or acted fraudulently. The law is too broad and "captures far more speech within its grasp than it can legitimately hold as a fraud-preventing measure," the court ruled.

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