for Oregon Secretary of State
I published the following argument in opposition to Measure 107 in the Oregon Voters' Pamphlet for the 2020 General Election.
This measure does more than allow for censorship of political speech — in subsections (2)(b) and (2)(c) it has the power to completely prohibit anonymous electioneering.
Anonymous political speech is an important category of expression. It gave us foundational works such as The Federalist Papers and Common Sense.
Anonymous expression has a major virtue: it keeps the focus properly on the content of the message itself, without ad hominem distractions about the identify of the speaker, or even less usefully on the financial backers of the speaker.
Anonymity is also important to protect speakers from facing personal repercussions for advocating unpopular ideas. Imagine fearing losing your friends or angering your family if you lived in a conservative location and donated to causes like same-sex marriage or marijuana legalization. People have lost careers because, years earlier, they donated to the "wrong" cause — even if it was the prevailing opinion at the time! That isn't right. Compelled disclosure chills political speech and participation.
People should not be afraid to speak or to support the causes they believe in. Ideological diversity is a strength, and privacy protects and nurtures that diversity.
(The chilling effect of compelled disclosure is actually the goal. Make people afraid to participate, so they stop. The general public isn't actually interested in disclosure data: https://tinyurl.com/no107-fd)
Perhaps more importantly, anonymity shields people from retaliation by elected officials:
… a candidate challenging an incumbent state attorney general reported that some members of the State's business community feared donating to his campaign because they did not want to cross the incumbent; in his words, "'I go to so many people and hear the same thing: "I sure hope you beat [the incumbent], but I can't afford to have my name on your records. He might come after me next."'"
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310, 4 (2010) (Thomas, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part).
Respect peoples' privacy! Vote NO on 107.
All of my other arguments against Measure 107 are available online.