HB 270 (formerly HB 189aa) raises serious constitutional concerns about restricting First Amendment protected speech and has the potential to groundlessly void election outcomes, invalidating the will of the voters.
With the adoption of this bill the validity of elections are at risk—and the will of the people, potentially silenced. If a court were to rule that any entity violated a provision of the law (that is, exercised their right to free speech in their capacity as a public official) then the vote could be invalidated. This will only encourage individuals dissatisified with the results of an election to question its validity thereby prompting an investigation and the potential restriction of voter’s rights.
It is also important that public office-holders not be silenced in Idaho. With this bill, sheriffs in Idaho could no longer speak out on the upcoming jail bond; the first grade teacher could no longer share their opinion on the school bond; the farmer who serves as a highway district commisioner could no longer comment on the need for additional transportaion funding.