arrowSection 7.3 - Direct Democracy

This topic is monitored by Moritz Law Professor Dale A. Oesterle

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The rules for referenda and other ballot measures, where citizens vote on issues rather than candidates, are quite distinct, especially in the area of campaign finance. For example, individuals who circulate leaflets advocating adoption or rejection of a ballot measure (like whether to adopt an increase in school taxes) are entitled to anonymity under the Free Speech Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In fact, this constitutional right to anonymous advocacy was vindicated in a case brought by Election Law @ Moritz professor David Goldberger: McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, 514 U.S. 334 (1995). But the same right does not necessarily apply with respect to advocacy of a candidate's election or defeat, as the Supreme Court was careful to observe in that case. Likewise, business corporations can be barred from advocating a candidate's election or defeat, but they cannot be barred from advocating the adoption or rejection of a ballot measure. Consequently, as further questions arise concerning the distinctive rules applicable to referenda and other forms of direct democracy, the e-Book on Election Law will attend to these distinctions.

(view relevant Ohio Statutes)