Libertarian Party of Colorado Press Release: Federal Judge Issues Preliminary Injunction Barring Enforcement of Colorado’s “Ballot Selfie Ban”

photo-on-11-4-16-at-7-51-pm-2DENVER CO.- The civil rights lawsuit filed by the Libertarian Party of Colorado’s Communications Director, and Libertarian National Committee Region 1 Representative, Caryn Ann Harlos, has won its first victory in winning a preliminary injunction allowing Colorado voters to post images of their completed mail-in ballots to social media without any fear of prosecution or threats of prosecution. The lawyers representing Harlos and two co-Plaintiffs released the following:

Date: November 4, 2016

Contact Person: Adam Frank, Esq. (adam@fas-law.com) FRANK & SALAHUDDIN LLC

In a victory for the free speech rights of all Coloradoans, United States District Court Judge Christine Arguello has entered a preliminary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of Colorado’s ban on showing anyone your completed ballot, whether in person or in a posted “ballot selfie.” Coloradoans should be aware, however, that polling locations may have rules prohibiting photography at the polling location, and these rules will still be enforced.

Today’s order is a preliminary injunction – it is an important step towards eliminating this unconstitutional law, but the fight isn’t over. Attorneys Adam Frank, Faisal Salahuddin, and Scott Moss will continue their fight on behalf of the free speech rights of both the named Plaintiffs and all Colorado residents to ensure that Judge Arguello’s preliminary injunction becomes permanent. Voters or journalists with relevant experiences or information – with ballot posts, poll site photography, or a similar issue – should contact Mr. Frank to see whether the case might benefit from their insights.

The law Judge Arguello enjoined isn’t just a “selfie” law, it’s an un-American ban on the free expression of disfavored content. The law literally declares you a criminal if you show anyone – a friend, a family member, or a political ally – your voted ballot. The First Amendment doesn’t let the government declare you a criminal for sharing your political views, or votes, or for writing political posts with certain content the government wants to stop you from sharing.

Looking past 2016, Coloradoans should be permitted to express their civic pride in their vote as they see fit, whether they vote by mail or in person. This isn’t a Democratic or a Republican or a Libertarian issue. It’s an American issue. Political speech about an election is at the core of the First Amendment’s free speech protections. FRANK & SALAHUDDIN LLC, a law firm that fights for the rights of individuals as civil rights plaintiffs and as criminal defendants, is proud to fight for the free speech rights of all Coloradoans.

View a copy of the Court Order.
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Caryn Ann Harlos at 561.523.2250 or email at CommunicationsDirector@LPColorado.org

This entry was posted in Libertarian Party on by .

About Caryn Ann Harlos

Caryn Ann Harlos is a paralegal residing in Castle Rock, Colorado and presently serving as the Region 1 Representative on the Libertarian National Committee and is a candidate for LNC Secretary at the 2018 Libertarian Party Convention. Articles posted should NOT be considered the opinions of the LNC nor always those of Caryn Ann Harlos personally. Caryn Ann's goal is to provide information on items of interest and (sometimes) controversy about the Libertarian Party and minor parties in general not to necessarily endorse the contents.

48 thoughts on “Libertarian Party of Colorado Press Release: Federal Judge Issues Preliminary Injunction Barring Enforcement of Colorado’s “Ballot Selfie Ban”

  1. Richard Winger

    Congratulations to Caryn and all the other plaintiffs and intervenors and their good attorneys.

  2. Andy

    This is nice. Wouldn’t it be great if we could also start getting some injunctions against the police and other government officials from interfering with and preventing people from gathering signatures on Libertarian Party ballot access petitions?

    Here is footage of a group of Libertarians in Minnesota being harassed by the police for asking people to sign a ballot access petition to place their candidate for Governor, Chirs Holbrook, on the ballot. Mr. Holbrook happened to be one of the petition circulators that day, and he ended up getting arrested by the police for daring to question their authority.

    Minneapolis PD officer arrests Libertarian MnGov campaign for ballot signature collection

  3. Andy

    Here is footage of Libertarian Party candidate for Governor of Minnesota, Chris Holbrook, being arrested, and taken away in handcuffs, for the “crime” of asking people to sign a Libertarian Party ballot access petition in a public park.

    Chris Holbrook for MN Governor arrested petitioning @ Lake Calhoun Minneapolis

  4. Andy

    I talked to a Libertarian last night who worked on the Libertarian Party ballot access drive in Illinois earlier this year. They confirmed to me that there was a Libertarian Party candidate for the state legislature in southern Illinois, for whom this person gathered signatures, while also gathering signatures for the statewide slate of candidates (note that in Illinois, all of the statewide candidates can be on the same petition page, but any candidates for local or district offices have to be on separate petition pages), that FAILED to make the ballot, and they confirmed to me that the main reason that this candidate FAILED to make the ballot, was due to lack of access to locations that carried public foot traffic to ask people to sign the petition. This person described the access to locations in this district as “terrible,” and they said that they were getting kicked out everywhere. I asked this person that if they had not been run out of so many locations by the police, security guards, and venue managers, do they think that this would have been the difference maker in qualifying this Libertarian Party candidate for the ballot for a state legislature race, and they said yes.

    It also should be noted that the Libertarian Party petition drive in Illinois turned into a real clusterfuck during the last month of the drive, as the party was behind on signatures and the drive was in a high risk of failing. The drive succeeded, but only because the party spent a bunch of money (the LNC, the state party, and the Johnson campaign all contributed) to bring in more petition circulators, and it was a very stressful situation.

    The last minute fire drill in Illinois likely would not have happened IF there was better access to venues that carry public foot traffic in Illinois.

    So the access to locations problem in Illinois cost the party a lot of extra money and unnecessary stress, and it also cost the party at least one candidate for a district office.

  5. Andy

    Matt said: “TL; DR on the rest of his comments.”

    Translation: I don’t want to do anything about any real problems, so I’d prefer to just stick my fingers in my ears and close my eyes and pretend like these problems do not exist.

    The attitudes I have seen displayed here by some people sure does shed a lot of light on why the Libertarian Party is not a more successful organization.

  6. Matt

    No, your gripe may well have merit, but it’s not all that relevant to Caryn Ann’s lawsuit nor do your long winded posts do anything to inspire anyone to help you, they just make people like you less and take whatever you have to say less seriously, even when you have a legitimate point to make.

  7. Matt

    That was @ Andy. Knapp has this one right, and congratulations Caryn Ann, please keep up the good work.

  8. Andy

    Here is a phone call a Libertarian petition circulator made in Illinois in 2014 after being prevented from gathering Libertarian Party ballot access signatures at a Chicago Transit Authority stop. Note that the Chicago Transit Authority is a municipal corporation (as in a government corporation) which receives local, state, and federal taxpayer funding.

    Audio starts about 34 seconds into the video.

    Chicago Transit Authority vs. The Bill of Rights 001

  9. Andy

    Here is a second phone call made by a Libertarian Party petition circulator in Illinois in 2014 to the Chicago Transit Authority about being harassed and prevented from gathering signatures by CTA employees. Note that this situation was never resolved.

    Chicago Transit Authority vs. The Bill of Rights 002

  10. Richard Winger

    Andy, you should move to Springfield, Illinois, buy a suit, get a good haircut, and then hang around the state capitol trying to get a chance to lobby state legislators for a decent ballot access system. That is what Ken Bush did in Jefferson City, Missouri, in 1989-1993, and he finally got his bill through. Ever since Libertarians have not had to petition at all in Missouri.

  11. Thomas Knapp

    Q: What do Andy’s ballot access petition gathering complaints nationwide have to do with a lawsuit in Colorado over free speech?

    A: Nothing.

    Not everything has to be about your concerns and the issues you think are important 24/7/365.

    Q: Why does Andy always want to know why someone else did something other than what he wants done — something he seems to have no inclination to do himself, preferring instead to just bitch incessantly about how someone should do it?

    A: Inquiring minds want to know.

  12. Andy

    This is footage of me being harassed and run out of a public art festival that was held at a community college in Oklahoma City last year during the ballot access drive to place the Libertarian Party back on the Oklahoma ballot. Note that Paul and another petition circulator were at different areas of this event and they were also run out as well.

  13. NewFederalist

    I would have to guess his mental disorder makes him oblivious to what is actually going on around him. Sad but just my observation.

  14. Andy

    “Thomas Knapp
    November 5, 2016 at 15:46
    Q: What do Andy’s ballot access petition gathering complaints nationwide have to do with a lawsuit in Colorado over free speech?

    A: Nothing.

    Actually, the two are very connected because they are both supposed to be 1st amendment protected activities.

    Incidentally, Colorado has been home to some important lawsuits regarding asking people to sign petitions in venues that carry public foot traffic. One such case is Bock vs. Westminster Mall.

    I’ve done a lot of petition circulating in Colorado for ballot initiatives (although I have not done any of this there in the last 6 years). Colorado USED TO be one of the best states in the country for being able to go out to places that carry public foot traffic to ask people to sign petitions, but I’ve heard from multiple sources that it is not as good as it used to be in this regard. What happened? Well, there were not any actual changes in the law. What happened is there was a string of initiative petitions in Colorado that a lot of “the powers that be” did not like, so they started making a bunch of false complaints against petition circulators to venue managers and to the police, and the result of this is that a lot of the cops in Colorado started to disregard various court rulings that were supposed to protect the rights of petition circulators, and from what I have heard, this situation in Colorado has yet to be resolved. The last time that I worked on a petition drive in Colorado was 2010, and the situation was starting to deteriorate then, but I have heard that it has gotten worse since then. The situation in Colorado is still probably not as bad as it is in some other states, but it is also not as good as it used to be.

  15. Andy

    “Richard Winger
    November 5, 2016 at 15:44
    Andy, you should move to Springfield, Illinois, buy a suit, get a good haircut, and then hang around the state capitol trying to get a chance to lobby state legislators for a decent ballot access system. That is what Ken Bush did in Jefferson City, Missouri, in 1989-1993, and he finally got his bill through. Ever since Libertarians have not had to petition at all in Missouri.”

    Since I am not independently wealthy, somebody would have to pay me to do this, so if somebody comes up with enough money to pay me to do this, I would certainly consider it.

    There is a bigger issue here than just getting signatures on Libertarian Party ballot access petitions, and that is the greater issue of free speech as a general principle. Even if Libertarians did not have to collect petition signatures to place candidates on the ballot, there are other reasons for Libertarians to want to go out to places that carry public foot traffic and talk to people. They may want to go out hand out Libertarian flyers/pamphlets and just talk to people about liberty. They may want to do a voter registration drive just to increase the number of registered Libertarians in order to build the party. They may want to do a “Get Out The Vote” for a Libertarian candidate. They may want to gather signatures on a pro-liberty ballot initiative or referendum or recall petition (note that Illinois does have the initiative process, but it is very difficult to qualify one for the ballot). They may want to do a plebiscite petition, which is not a petition to put any candidate or issue on the ballot, but is done to draw attention to an issue, and/or to encourage government officials to take certain actions (like say a petition to stop the NSA from spying on Americans).

    I spoke to a Libertarian Party candidate in Arkansas when I attended their state convention last year who told me about all of the troubles that they were having getting run out of locations that carried public foot traffic so they could talk to the public about their campaign for office.

    So this issue is relevant regardless of whether the Libertarian Party has to collect petition signatures to place candidates on the ballot or not.

  16. Andy

    “Matt
    November 5, 2016 at 15:52
    Andy is so vain…he probably thinks this thread is about him…”

    Maybe if your head was not crammed so far up your ass you’d realize that this issue directly impacts every member of the Libertarian Party, as well as the entire population as a whole, due to the ability to communicate with the public being stifled and due to candidates and issues being prevented from appearing on the ballot.

  17. Andy

    Here is video of me getting harassed and kicked out of a public park where a public festival was taking place in Oklahoma City last year during the petition drive to place the Libertarian Party back on the ballot in Oklahoma. Note that before I started recording, a park employee had been harassing Libertarian petitioner Paul (from IPR), and Paul showed him papaers that contained relevant laws and court rulings that said that what we were doing was perfectly legal, and these park employees did not care and continued to harass us and say that we had to leave. The park emplyeed called the police (who were riding around inside the park on bicycles) and we were threatened with arrest if we did not leave. Their claim that the park was private and that they could kick us out was bogus. I found out that the land where the park is located was purchased by the city government, and that although they do have a trust or foundation which people can make donations, they also receive tax payer funding (and if it was private, why were uniformed city police officers there?). The park is listed under the Deparment of Parks and Recreation for the city, and it was open to the public to come and go. We were threanted with arrest if we came back to the park to gather petition signatures at any time, so we lost this location not only that day, but for the rest of the petition drive.

    Check out the video:

  18. Andy

    This is video of a petition circulator in Oregon who was gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Oregon. This was recorded in 2013. The petition circulator is gathering signatures at a public farmers market and is being harassed and assaulted by a security guard.

    Petitioner physically assaulted and cursed by Security (contains profanity)

  19. Matt

    ” you’d realize that this issue directly impacts ..”

    That’s all well and good, but it’s not the issue of this thread, except you keep insisting that it needs to be. However, evidently no one else here agrees.

  20. Andy

    This is footage of petition circulators being harassed and illegally traspassed from a public park in Oregon where a public festival was taking place.

    Cops vs First Amendment Initiative Rights

  21. NewFederalist

    “That’s all well and good, but it’s not the issue of this thread, except you keep insisting that it needs to be. However, evidently no one else here agrees.” – Matt

    Unfortunately that is all part of his mental disorder.

  22. Bondurant

    @ Andy

    Perhaps you should file your own lawsuit on an issue personal to you as Caryn has. You clearly care about ballot access petitioning and the injustices you face but this thread is not relevant to said issue. Making post after post after post does nothing to assist you.

    Here in Arizona the local LP files lots of lawsuits. No one complains that national or regional directors aren’t assisting, they just go out and do it.

  23. Andy

    That would be great, Bondurant. How about you provide me with money for an attorney, as well as travel money to make court appearances since I am on the road most of the year?

    Just within the last 3 years I have had situations arise while gathering signatures where I would like to file lawsuits in South Carolina, Florida, Illinois, Wyoming, Nevada, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, and North Dakota.

    Which state or states are you willing to put up money for attorneys and travel so I can go back and get lawsuits going?

    I would consider filing the suits pro se (that is I represent myself without an attorney), but considering that i have never filed a lawsuit before, I will need a lot of coaching on what to do, plus I will still need money for travel expenses so I can make the court appearances.

    I’d be happy to file lawsuits over this issue anywhere if I had the means to do it.

  24. Andy

    New Federalist, I know exactly what is going on around me, and that is that there are dipshits like yourself making stupid comments.

  25. Bondurant

    @ Andy

    The folks here in Arizona don’t make excuses or ask for handouts. In some cases a lawyer friendly to liberty takes the cases pro bono. If you’re not looking to do any work yourself perhaps you should ask the state and local parties where you’ve been affected to help bring a case.

  26. Matthew Schutter

    ANY was there any lawsuit with the police violating the petition drives? If the answer is no than stop your whining bitch! If you act like a slave the government will treat you like one. I do a lot of petition work in pa, and yes I got harassed by the police. I tell them nicely at first that this is my legal right, if they want to be confrontational I tell them go fuck yourself and go back to petitioning. If they would arrest me like in the video of the governor candidate they would have a 1983 federal lawsuit on them so fast they would not know what hit them! Sorry I am so sick of Libertarian’s crying and doing nothing about it!

  27. Andy

    Matthew, it is not so easy to get lawsuits going unless you have enough money at your disposal to hire an attorney (and it is VERY difficult to find attorneys who will take a case on contingency), plus there is also the FACT THAT I AM ON THE ROAD MOST OF THE YEAR, which means that I would have to shell out more money to travel back and forth to make court appearances. Having to travel back and forth around the country to make court appearances could cost me a lot more money than just the travel expenses, because it could cause me to miss days of work, which cannot be made up on petition drives. So if you factor in travel expenses, plus lost days of work, just making the court appearances could get very expensive, AND THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE ATTORNEY FEES OR ANY COURT FEES.

    Some of you people seem to have no idea of what it is like to travel around the country for work, and to live on the road.

    I have called many attorneys. A lot of them will not even take cases like this because they do not deal with this aspect of the law, or they are afraid of law enforcement and/or the establishment seeking retribution against them, or they are a part of the establishment themselves, and even out of the ones who will take these kind of cases, MOST OF THEM WANT TO BE PAID THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS AS AN ADVANCED PAYMENT.

    One attorney I called several years ago wanted me to PAY THEM $14,000 UP FRONT JUST TO TAKE THE CASE.

    Where do you people expect the money to come from to cover the attorney fees and the travel expenses to make court appearances, and how do I make up for days that I miss working somewhere to travel across the country to make a court appearance?

  28. Thomas Knapp

    “Some of you people seem to have no idea of what it is like to travel around the country for work, and to live on the road.”

    And you seem to have no idea of what it is like that every time anyone does something good and productive, Andy has to hijack discussion of it with “yeah, that’s nice, but you should have done something that I want done instead of what you chose to do .”

  29. Andy

    Bondurant, do you understand that I am pretty much ON THE ROAD THE ENTIRE YEAR, generally going from motel to motel? How the fuck do you expect me to do all of this while living on the road?

    Let’s say one month I am working on a petition drive in Florida. The next month, or week, or for that matter, I could be on a petition drive in say California, or Washington, or Maine, or North Dakota. Who is going to pay for me to go back to Florida for a lawsuit?

  30. Andy

    Tom, first of all, that is a gross exaggeration, and second of all, THIS IS A PROBLEM THAT HAS BEEN PLAGUING THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY FOR YEARS, AND HARDLY ANYONE DOES MUCH OF ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

    Do you have any idea how many Libertarian Party candidates have been kept off the ballot over the years because of this problem? There is no way to know for sure, but it is a lot.

    Do you have any idea how much extra money that the LP had had to pour into ballot access drives to save drives that were on a course to fail because of this problem? I do not know exactly, but I can tell you that it is a LOT OF MONEY.

    This is far from being a trivial issue. I’d say that it is one of the biggest problems (when it comes to the 1st amendment, and to ballot access) of which hardly anyone even addresses.

  31. Richard P. Burke

    We have our differences, but this was good work. Congratulations.

    Richard P. Burke

  32. Caryn Ann Harlos Post author

    Ballot “selfie” case update: Plaintiffs have filed their Answers and did not try to dismiss.
    Answers are pretty pro forma admissions or denials – nothing substantive, but it does mean the case is progressing.

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