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.
Any power we grant to government when it is in the hands of our allies, we also grant to the government when it is in the hands of our opponents. We may trust our friendly State Representative with the power to restrict our political speech — but can we trust the folks on the other side of the aisle? If our city council can limit spending for a local race in such a way that it favors speech we agree with, another city's leaders can limit the speech we believe their constituents most need to hear.
The Oregon Constitution provides some of the strongest protections for free speech anywhere in the world, and that's given us a vibrant and exciting state culture. Is it worth weakening that protection in order to limit speech we may disagree with? Is it worth taking the risk that at some point in the future, our speech will be limited in order to gain a momentary advantage today?
The only winners when political speech is limited are those who want to avoid their actions being discussed. Do we really want to grant our public servants the power to declare that exposing their misdeeds is forbidden, or that we cannot use the most effective means available in order to share the truth about them?
This amendment has no protections for news reporting or editorial endorsements! Its poor wording would permit a crooked city government to classify a newspaper investigation into their corruption as an attempt to influence an election, and limit the newspaper's spending on that investigation, and even its publication.
This permanent change to the Oregon Constitution purports to bring light to our political discourse, but what it will inevitably wind up doing is to permit our government to operate in the shadows. This is dangerous enough even when its leaders are our friends — but it's deadly dangerous in the hands of our opponents.
All of my other arguments against Measure 107 are available online.