Document Type


Publication Date



The Supreme Court has repeatedly noted that ballot and election regulations raise difficult questions about the interplay between the First Amendment's heightened protection for political speech, and states' need to regulate ballots and elections to ensure fair and orderly democracy. When making the delicate judgments between protecting political speech and allowing states to regulate elections, the Court has traditionally stated precisely which test it was employing to evaluate individual restrictions. Last Term, in Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation, the Court invalidated several of Colorado's restrictions on the signature-gathering process for ballot initiative petitions. In so doing, the Court failed to identify which level of scrutiny it was applying for each of the restrictions in question and relied instead on certain unreviewed restrictions to render unconstitutional the specific regulations before it. The lack of clarity in the resulting opinion will make it difficult for lawmakers, lower courts, and the Court to create and evaluate election regulations.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.