Citation. 525 U.S. 182, 119 S. Ct. 636, 142 L. Ed. 2d 599, 1999 U.S.
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Brief Fact Summary.
Colorado requires that petition circulator’s wear a badge and that the names, addresses and amounts paid to all circulators be reported.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Protected political speech includes the freedom to remain anonymous while supporting a particular cause.
Citizens may get initiatives on the elections ballots by having persons sign a petition. In order to consider a petition valid, Colorado requires that all persons asking for signatures wear a name badge and that their address and amount received be reported to the state.
Do the Colorado state requirements violate the First Amendment of the United States Constitution (Constitution)?
Yes. Affirm Court of Appeals
The badge requirement discourages participation in the petition circulation process by forcing name identification without just cause.
Listing paid circulators forces paid circulators to surrender the anonymity enjoyed by volunteer counterparts.
The disclosure of circulators’ addresses and payment amounts slightly infringes upon the First Amendment of the Constitution and should be held constitutional.
Concurrence. Requiring the wearing name badges to identify the circulators is an action subject to strict scrutiny.
This kind of requirement is an even stricter restraint on speech than McIntyre because the circulators are required to discuss the issue at length in order to gain signatures. By providing the identity, the person is less likely to participate in the process. Therefore, this operates as a restraint on free speech.