Reed V. Town Of Gilbert Case Study

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The United States finally began to awaken and increase the number of investigations into the corrupt election process. In 1888, Massachusetts became the first state to adopt the Australian ballot; all other states did the same by 1891, representing a considerable maturation in elections throughout the United States’ history (Lepore).
Presently, the “Australian ballot” has developed into an important cog in the United States’ democratic process. Besides its secrecy, the ballot has developed various mechanisms to help combat different electoral abuses. The state is now responsible for printing and distributing tickets. The state ensures that all ballots are “made available under controlled conditions governing the time and location of the
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The plaintiffs begin by mentioning the implications of Reed v. Town of Gilbert, a recently decided legal case in which the Town of Gilbert regulated the placement of outdoor signs, on the New Hampshire court case. The Supreme Court held that treating these signs differently was a content-based speech restriction, meaning that is was subject to strict scrutiny. The Court importantly stated that if a law is content based “on its face,” then the government’s justifications do not matter—the law is subject to strict scrutiny. Under New Hampshire’s law, one can take a picture of a ballot, simply not a marked, and a distinction that the plaintiffs argue is content-based. Thus, the statutes are subject to strict scrutiny (Plaintiff’s Statement). The argument is actually supported by the New Hampshire District Court, who agreed with the plaintiffs that the statute was subject to strict scrutiny, “’which requires the Government to prove that the restriction furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest’” (Reed v. Town of Gilbert). In the petitioners’ brief, they walk through the requirements of strict scrutiny, addressing various government …show more content…
They do so by looking at the legislative history and the sponsors testimony in front of various House of Representative committees, “[a]ccording to Deputy Secretary of State David M. Scalan’s testimony before the Senate Public and Municipal Affiars Committee, HB 366 was necessary to update the law in light of modern technology to address vote buying, which he argued was ‘rampant’ in the late 1800s” (Plaintiff’s Memorandum). There is, however, little to no evidence of problems with vote buying or voter coercion since the late 19th century. In fact, the Secretary of State has not received a complaint regarding the publishing of a photograph of a marked ballot since 1976 (Plaintiff’s Memorandum). In addition, since the legislation came into effect in September 2014, the only people that have been actively investigated have been four individuals (three of whom are the plaintiffs in this case), whose activity was not at all related to voter coercion or vote buying. Thus, the implication is that this is not a compelling interest for the State, as vote buying and voter coercion have not been relevant for several decades. The other implication is that the statute is not narrowly tailored because the statute ends up “regulating innocent, political speech far beyond the polling place that is unrelated to this asserted interest” (Plaintiff’s

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