West Virginia AG Says Election Pamphlet Law Unconstitutional

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says a state law prohibiting anonymous election pamphlets is unconstitutional.

Morrisey issued the opinion Tuesday in response to a request by Secretary of State Mac Warner. Both are Republicans.

Morrisey says the state law “violates the First Amendment because it is overbroad and not narrowly tailored to a compelling state interest.” Morrisey says a federal court decision in West Virginia in 1996 found an older version of the same law about freedom of expression prohibitions concerning anonymous pamphlets was unconstitutional.

Secretary of State spokesman Steven Allen Adams says residents and political candidates had raised concerns about 2017 municipal election campaign materials such as yard signs, pamphlets and placards that didn’t indicate who paid for them.