If two or more people get together to write a blog or publish a pamphlet giving their opinions on public policies, and occasionally on a candidate, can Ohio force them to register with the State before speaking or spending even a dollar? According to the Ohio Elections Commission (OEC) and Ohio’s courts, the answer is “yes.”
And if those people fail to register—whether because of principle, ignorance, or naïveté—they can expect to be dragged before commissions and courts. As the OEC considered this issue, the Chairman said to one such individual: “I noted in your affidavit you say, ‘Do I have to hire a lawyer to avoid these things?’ Yeah, I guess so. I think that’s–it’s very complicated without going to those lengths.”
You can find a summary of the case at this link.