Efforts to change the situation are not likely to succeed. Every loophole that is closed in regulations tends to create even more loopholes – people with money always find a way to spend it. There are also First Amendment considerations. If any speech should be unfettered in this country it is political speech, and campaign advertisements are political speech.
Fortunately, it is also easier today for those who wish to be smart, informed voters. We no longer have to spend hours or days in the library perusing old newspapers. There are advocacy groups and voting promoters all over the Internet offering a wealth of information on candidates and issues. And we can go to the candidates’ own websites to see their own words unfiltered by handlers or pundits.
There will always be more lazy voters than smart voters. The easier it gets for both groups, the greater the obligation of the smart voters to keep plugging awayThere’s an interesting free speech battle going on over the Allen County Public Library’s plaza. Attorney David Kilhoff, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, wants to use it to stage a demonstration against Obamacare. Library Director Jeffrey Krull says officials haven’t allowed such demonstrations and don’t want anyone approaching patrons as they arrive or depart.
Given the value we place on free speech, courts usually look for a compelling reason to curtail it, such as the need to not impede traffic. The Fort Wayne International Airport offered the very reasonable need to maintain security in the wake of 9/11 as a justification for its “free speech zone.”
It’s hard to see a compelling reason here. We don’t have a right to not be annoyed in public spaces.