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6th Circuit voids Kentucky restrictions on campaigning and loan repayment

The Louisville Courier Journal reports:

A federal appeals court yesterday threw out Kentucky's ban on electioneering within 500 feet of polling places and also a law that keeps elected officials from recouping big loans they make to their campaigns.

The decision brought objections and warnings from the authors of the major laws that the General Assembly passed in 1988 amid concern about the influence of money in politics, from vote-buying at precincts to millionaires buying the governorship.

The unanimous opinion by a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said those laws and some less significant statutes unconstitutionally restricted candidates' and campaign workers' freedom of speech.

The electioneering law "prohibits speech over too much geography and ... prohibits more speech than is necessary to meet the state's protected interest" of running its elections and preventing corruption, said the opinion by Judge Alice Batchelder of Ohio.

The case is Anderson v. Spear, No. 02-5529, 6th Cir., 17 Jan. 2004.