WY Political “Robocall” Ban Struck Down As Unconstitutional

A federal judge has struck down a Wyoming law banning political “robocalling” as violating the US Constitution’s first amendment

Wyoming’s law seeking to curtail invasive political messaging through telephone messages has been rejected by a federal judge, citing constitutional protections for free speech. The ruling, in part, hinges on the “breadth” of the state-passed legislation, so the matter may not be fully settled for all areas.

From coverage in Governing:

U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson ruled that a Michigan-based polling firm, Victory Processing LLC, should be allowed to gather information on voters and do polls in Wyoming by way of automatic telephone calls.

Johnson said the Wyoming law banning political robocalls was “overinclusive” in that it “completely prohibits political speech through robocalls while allowing commercial speech under certain circumstances.”

Multiple states have passed various laws to limit or restrict such tactics, and the tension with free speech protections is likely to remain a focus for state governments and aggrieved parties as courts hear multiple challenges.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties