DENVER, CO – Pillar of Law Institute joined a team of attorneys to represent several Colorado citizens in federal court today, arguing for a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of Colorado’s ballot exposure law. Three voters—Scott Romano, Colin Phipps and state senator Owen Hill—argued that the law unconstitutionally prohibits “ballot selfies,” photographs of one’s own ballot that are usually posted to social media.
“Ballot selfies are especially prevalent in Colorado, where most citizens vote by mail,” said Pillar attorney Stephen Klein, co-counsel for the plaintiffs. “The exposure law is so broad it even prohibits spouses from filling out their mail-in ballots together at the kitchen table. This law is not just censorship, it’s ridiculous.”
Pillar’s case, Hill v. Williams, was consolidated in this hearing with another case, Harlos v. Morrissey, challenging the same exposure law. The cases were both filed within days of a news release from Denver District Attorney Mitchell Morrissey warning that ballot selfies are a misdemeanor in Colorado.
“Many citizens from across the political spectrum and all walks of life joined these lawsuits and today’s hearing,” said Klein. “It’s inspiring to see Coloradoans fight for speech over censorship.”
The day before the hearing, the defendants submitted affidavits that they would not enforce the law, but insisted at the hearing that they would also not concede that the statute is unconstitutional.
“The Colorado Attorney General, Secretary of State and Denver District Attorney now insist that we have no case because they will not prosecute ballot exposure or ballot selfies without evidence of something serious, such as vote buying,” said Klein. “This 180-degree turn is nothing more than an attempt to make the case go away. Moreover, since vote buying and voter intimidation are already illegal in Colorado, the defendants have only proven there is no reason to keep this censorship on the books.”
The hearing lasted most of the day, and will continue on Thursday, November 3. Judge Christine M. Arguello presides over the case and expects to release a ruling on Friday, November 4. The plaintiffs’ case in Hill was guided by co-counsel Michael Francisco of MRDLaw in Denver. Daniel Domenico of Kittredge LLC in Denver is also co-counsel in the case.
The Pillar of Law Institute is a nonprofit public interest law firm. Located in Washington, DC, Pillar represents citizens nationwide against unconstitutional censorship of political speech. Pillar recently secured a preliminary injunction in a ballot selfie lawsuit in Michigan, Crookston v. Johnson, which was stayed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 28 due to timing issues.
Stephen Klein, Attorney