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Ban deception in political campaigns? No way, says House panel

It seems like a no-brainer: Ban deception in political campaigns. But a state House committee has voted down a measure that would prohibit the use of deceptive names in campaigns.

Opponents shot it down, saying it could open the door to frivolous, politically motivated complaints — and it might not be constitutional, reports the House Public Information Services office.

Sponsors wanted to end practices like what was seen recently in Maplewood. A group called Maplewood Voters Coalition was bedeviled by another group calling itself Maplewood Voters, which sent out negative mailings, in what was alleged to be a deliberate attempt to mislead voters.

However, the House State and Local Government Operations, Reform, Technology and Elections Committee voted it down. But there’s a Senate version still out there, too.

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by jason hitchcock on 02/20/2009 - 11:42 am.

    sure, curbing libelous speech and misinformation is an ideal that all of us would appreciate in our political process, but this proposal simply doesn’t pass the constitutionality test.

    also, you mention that the panel was concerned about frivolous claims. i can see the headlines already, “Joe Shmoe the candidate has already had 2,000 dishonesty claims filed against him.” Next thing you know, the public thinks Joe Shmoe is dishonest, when in reality a group just organized people to submit claims against him. We saw this happen right after the Superbowl nip-slip with Janet Jackson, and family organization complaining to FCC. Just replace “family” with political, and FCC with whatever new regulatory board that would be created.

  2. Submitted by Mike Fratto on 02/20/2009 - 05:57 pm.

    Jason Hitchcock says it pretty well. However, the Legislature should set a standard of accuracy and also include a penalty for falsely accusing a candidate, party or campaign of wrong doing. They should also ban coordinated efforts to get voters to file claims.

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