In the News: Vice: Ohio Bans Campaign Lies, but the Supreme Court Might Soon Change That

By Thor Benson

Brad Smith, who founded the Center for Competitive Politics, agrees. His organization bills itself as “the nation’s largest organization dedicated solely to protecting First Amendment political rights.”  

Smith told VICE News that Ohio’s ban “very clearly has a chilling effect on people speaking.” He also believes that the method of determining what amounts to a lie is too vague. “There’s no stated evidentiary standard for making that determination,” he said.  

Defining what constitutes a lie is the major issue. Having worked in Ohio, Smith has seen the state’s law cited in petty claims involving smaller campaigns. He said that a candidate who prints bumper stickers that place his or her name alongside “State Representative, 2014” when they’re running for office can be accused of lying because the sticker doesn’t say “for State Representative,” suggesting that the candidate is an incumbent.  

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The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.