Judge Rebukes McKinney’s “Unconstitutional” Ordinance

The McKinney City Council suffered another blow in its attempt to defend an unconstitutional ordinance that violates the free speech rights of citizens who electioneer at polling locations.

It’s unclear at this time how much taxpayer money has been wasted in defense of McKinney’s unconstitutional restriction. But this week, District Judge Benjamin Smith granted a temporary injunction against McKinney’s ridiculous ordinance.

“The City of McKinney has not demonstrated a compelling governmental interest justifying [enforcement of the ordinance.] Plaintiffs have a probable right to the relief they seek because [the ordinance] is facially unconstitutional. Deprivation of the right of free speech is an immediate injury for which there is no adequate remedy at law. Plaintiffs are currently forced to self-censor their political speech.”

During the March hearing on the injunction, the judge expressed concern over the law’s constitutionality, which had been previously called into question by the Metroplex Bureau of Texas Scorecard. After facing criticism, the city council revisited the ordinance, but chose to double down rather than reverse course.

The same judge issued a temporary restraining order on March 5, which prohibited the city from ticketing free speech on Election Day of the March 2018 primary.

The suit against the city was brought by five plaintiffs who were cited by police for refusing to cease electioneering outside one of the city’s busiest polling locations. The poll workers were following state law, but in violation of the city’s.

The city was attempting to enforce an ordinance that restricted electioneering to a small designated area in a muddy field 300 feet hundred feet away from the polling location’s entrance.

The group of activists insisted on electioneering to voters outside of the so-called free speech zone designated by the city, but outside of the 100-foot boundary required under state law.

The ordinance was so ridiculous, that a voter who simply drove into the parking lot with a campaign sign on their vehicle would technically be breaking the law, and subject to citation.

On May 14, the court will hold a hearing to consider whether or not the controversial ordinance, or any of its provisions, will be struck down.

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Ross Kecseg

Ross Kecseg is the Vice President of Local affairs for Empower Texans and leads the Metroplex Bureau. He is a native North Texan, raised in Denton County. He studied Economics at Arizona State University with an emphasis on Public Policy and Constitutional history. Since 2008, Ross has been active in grassroots organizing, political campaigns and as an Irving ISD volunteer. He enjoys speaking to liberty-minded groups regarding the strategic effectiveness of state and local engagement. Ross is an avid golfer, automotive enthusiast, and movie/music junkie.

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