McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm'n, 514 U.S. 334, 5 (1995)

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Opinion of the Court

While Mrs. McIntyre distributed her handbills, an official of the school district, who supported the tax proposal, advised her that the unsigned leaflets did not conform to the Ohio election laws. Undeterred, Mrs. McIntyre appeared at another meeting on the next evening and handed out more of the handbills.

The proposed school levy was defeated at the next two elections, but it finally passed on its third try in November 1988. Five months later, the same school official filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission charging that Mrs. McIntyre's distribution of unsigned leaflets violated 3599.09(A) of the Ohio Code.3 The commission agreed and imposed a fine of $100.

3 Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 3599.09(A) (1988) provides: "No person shall write, print, post, or distribute, or cause to be written, printed, posted, or distributed, a notice, placard, dodger, advertisement, sample ballot, or any other form of general publication which is designed to promote the nomination or election or defeat of a candidate, or to promote the adoption or defeat of any issue, or to influence the voters in any election, or make an expenditure for the purpose of financing political communications through newspapers, magazines, outdoor advertising facilities, direct mailings, or other similar types of general public political advertising, or through flyers, handbills, or other nonperiodical printed matter, unless there appears on such form of publication in a conspicuous place or is contained within said statement the name and residence or business address of the chairman, treasurer, or secretary of the organization issuing the same, or the person who issues, makes, or is responsible therefor. The disclaimer 'paid political advertisement' is not sufficient to meet the requirements of this division. When such publication is issued by the regularly constituted central or executive committee of a political party, organized as provided in Chapter 3517. of the Revised Code, it shall be sufficiently identified if it bears the name of the committee and its chairman or treasurer. No person, firm, or corporation shall print or reproduce any notice, placard, dodger, advertisement, sample ballot, or any other form of publication in violation of this section. This section does not apply to the transmittal of personal correspondence that is not reproduced by machine for general distribution.

"The secretary of state may, by rule, exempt, from the requirements of this division, printed matter and certain other kinds of printed communications such as campaign buttons, balloons, pencils, or like items, the size

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