On June 13, a national nonprofit legal center filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Smith v. Stillie, a case challenging Alaska’s intrusive election laws that were narrowly passed in 2020 with Ballot Measure 2, a measure that also instituted ranked-choice voting.

Ballot Measure 2 made sweeping changes to Alaska’s election laws, including the imposition of some of the country’s most stringent reporting requirements for political donors. Under the new rules, any independent organization that wants to speak about elections must disclose its top donors by name in all broadcast and online communications.

In addition, the law mandates that donors who give to these groups report their own donations to the state themselves within 24 hours, or face thousands of dollars in fines – even though the groups themselves are already required to report the contributions.

The new law also requires groups that receive most of their money from donors outside Alaska to include the message “A MAJORITY OF CONTRIBUTIONS TO [ENTITY’S NAME] CAME FROM OUTSIDE THE STATE OF ALASKA” on all televised ads – in all capital letters, for the ad’s entire duration.

The Liberty Justice Center filed a federal lawsuit challenging these reporting requirements in April 2022, arguing that the First Amendment protects the right to freely engage in core political speech without being coerced into using their advertising time to deliver state-mandated messages or violating their donors’ privacy.

The Liberty Justice Center is representing several Alaskan residents and citizen advocacy organizations in the suit. The Ninth Circuit Court dismissed the case in March, but an appeal has been filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, urging Justices to hear the case.

“People who want to speak out on political issues should be free to say what they want to say – not forced to say what the government wants them to say,” said Jacob Huebert, President of the Liberty Justice Center. “We urge the Supreme Court to hear this case and enforce the First Amendment’s protection against compelled speech.”

If the Supreme Court accepts the petition, the case would go before the Court during the October 2024 term.

Legal filings in the case can be read here.

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U.S. Supreme Court asked to hear 1st Amend. challenge to Alaska’s election speech restrictions

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Rep. David Eastman says:

    Important story. Thank you for covering this.
    Ballot Measure 2 made Alaska the single most restrictive state in the nation when it comes to these types of requirements, which chill the free speech of citizens while allowing the same “dark money” that funded Ballot Measure 2 to continue to fund other ballot measures unabated.

  • Patricia says:

    Just so everyone knows…Repealing ranked choice voting will be on the ballot this November. EVERYONE must vote to repeal this. This is our chance. In the meantime, the November election will be using the ranked choice system. No matter how angry you may be about Trump endorsing Dahlstrom, you must rank BOTH candidates. If you don’t, we lose. Do NOT rank any Democrats. Some folks thought they HAD to rank everyone the last time. You don’t. If you are a conservative, rank only conservatives/ Republicans.

  • Citizenkane says:

    Thank you Patricia, some of our “ conservative” brothers and sisters seem to have cognitive issues. Let us hope those issues have been resolved. Confusion can be fixed, stupid can’t.

  • Pat says:

    Those disclosures are important for voters to be able to determine if they are bought by some outside and or corporate group that just wants profit or push non Alaskan views. For instance if a political ad says we should let timber companies have unlimited harvesting rights on public lands it would make a difference if the primary donor was an outside company that wants to ship logs to foreign markets and cared nothing about its impact on alaska

  • Mary says:

    perhaps we should restrict outside donors…period…. If it takes money from outside to get elected, you are not representing the Alaskan people.

  • John J Otness says: