A conservative group that helped lead the legal battle that would eventually allow for the creation of super PACs is now working to overturn North Dakota’s ban on election day campaigning, arguing it violates the First Amendment. The Center for Competitive Politics is representing former North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Gary Emineth in a lawsuit Emineth filed in federal court Tuesday to overturn the state law. “We think the law is unconstitutional and it should be invalidated,” Allen Dickerson, the center’s legal director, told The Huffington Post. The suit has garnered opposition from Democrats — including the campaign of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp — who believe the suit is intended to help Republican Senate nominee Rep. Rick Berg win the seat.
In the court filing, Dickerson wrote that Emineth wants to engage in “speech on election day” and that the law, which has been on the books since at least 1981, blocks this. The activities Emineth indicated he would like to engage in include displaying lawn signs, handing out political material and talking to friends about the election. The lawsuit says that all of these could be illegal under the current law. The suit also says Emineth “reasonably fears” being targeted for violation of the law by Secretary of State Al Jaeger (R), Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (R) or Burleigh County State’s Attorney Richard Riha. “This fear has chilled his constitutionally protected speech,” Dickerson wrote in the suit. Emineth could not be reached for comment.