Oregon state legislators, radio show hosts and GOP representatives are suing government officials to put an end to the state’s censorship of so-called “false election information.”
According to a First Amendment lawsuit against Democrat Gov. Tina Kotek, Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade and Elections Director Molly Woon, Oregon’s election officials are negotiating deals with censorship vendors to silence “criticism of its election system” through a contract to “identify and mitigate” purported “MDM,” purported misinformation, disinformation and malinformation.
Twelve plaintiffs, including former Oregon gubernatorial candidate Marc Thielman, state Sens. Dennis Linthicum Kim Thatcher, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction last week following an attempt to resolve the dispute with the plaintiffs in a “good faith effort through a telephone conference” to no resolve.
The plaintiff contends the contract only undermines online free speech in a “blatant violation of the First Amendment” and requested an order “halting any performance of work pursuant to” the Secretary of State Griffin-Valade’s request for proposals titled ‘Election False Information Solution.”
The Election False Information Solution proposals were opened for bidding on Sept. 21 and have not been executed despite an Oct. 27 deadline, the motion states.
Griffin-Valade’s office “awarded a similar anti-MDM contract a year earlier to U.K. artificial intelligence company Logically AI. The motion fixes an error in the Nov. 7 complaint that claimed Logically AI also received the new award, which, Griffin-Valade told lawmakers Nov. 9 was behind schedule,” Just The News reports.
“Plaintiffs move for a preliminary injunction order prohibiting Defendants from surveilling and/or suppressing speech concerning alleged misinformation, disinformation, or malinformation,” the motion states.
The targeted speech “is only harmful in the sense that it damages the credibility of Oregon’s repeated claims that its elections are ‘safe and secure,’” the plaintiffs’ motion states. “Like authoritarians since time immemorial, Oregon seeks to suppress and silence those who disagree with its message, in violation of the First Amendment.”
The state’s “Election False Information Solution” agenda includes an “early warning system” involving the federal government and law enforcement officials’ assistance with mitigating MDM.
The government is also issuing hefty fines to violators of its speech rules surrounding election integrity.
“Oregon’s plan to intimidate the public from criticizing Oregon’s election system … has teeth” in the form of a $10,000 fine, codified into law in 2021, for “communication of false statements of material fact intended to mislead electors on a variety of election topics,” the plaintiffs state.
“The State of Oregon only exists to serve the people, for whom it works. Oregon is prohibited from interfering in the public’s speech criticizing Oregon’s elections or any other matter,” the motion continues.
Last year, Thielman, who is also a former school superintendent and Sen. Dennis Linthicum, filed a suit against the government over Oregon’s vote-by-mail and “computerized tabulation systems.” That suit failed in district court.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals shut down their class last week contending that “lack of confidence in the integrity of the election system” is too speculative to sustain the lawsuit on behalf of Oregon voters.
Sen. Lithicum is also asking a grand jury to investigate “alleged federal manipulation of COVID-19 statistics.”