Defamation on the campaign trail? Not in California

Defamation on the campaign trail? Not in California

Sep 17, 2018

Article

Co-author, Daily Journal, September 17, 2018

Can political candidates really say whatever they want about an opponent to sway an election and keep their seat if they win? A little-known California constitutional provision says "no" — allowing courts to overturn election results due to defamation if the losing candidate can prove that defamatory speech swayed voters enough to affect the results. However, the law has never been tested. Does this provision have teeth? With the increasingly hostile political climate, we may soon know. Perhaps more states will adopt similar laws to keep candidates honest in the current digital age where the spread of disinformation is seemingly unstoppable.

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