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Goldwater Institute Applauds New Arizona Law Protecting Freedom of Speech

March 26, 2019

March 26, 2019

Arizonans will enjoy even greater protection of their freedom of speech thanks to legislation signed by Gov. Doug Ducey and passed unanimously by the state legislature.

Under HB 2023, sponsored by Rep. John Kavanagh, Arizona law will extend new protections to political campaign signs pertaining to ballot propositions—a measure that previously applied only to candidate signs. By closing this loophole, it will now be a class 2 (mid-level) misdemeanor for any person to knowingly remove, alter, deface or cover any political sign in support of or opposition to any ballot measure, question, or issue. during the period beginning 45 days before a primary election and ending 7 days after the general election.

“Arizona voters are proud to make their voices heard during elections, and their freedom of speech should be defended,” said Victor Riches, president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute. “As we saw in the last election, ballot proposals can have a significant impact on our state, for better and for worse. Now when voters speak out on those issues with political campaign signs, their speech will enjoy even stronger protections under the law.”

The Goldwater Institute, which strongly supported the new political sign protections, has a long record of standing in defense of the freedom of speech, in legislatures, courtrooms, and communities in Arizona and across the country. Last year, the Goldwater Institute filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of voters’ right to express themselves at the polls, maintaining that it is not the government’s place to stop people from “persuading” each other, as long as they do so in a peaceful manner. The Court agreed and upheld citizens’ right to wear articles of clothing and accessories with political messages on election day.

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