Someone in our Community is Circulating a Petition and has Threatened Anyone that Disagrees with him, What Can We do?

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We have an Individual that has published a petition in our community. This petition states that our elected officials have made statements that they have not. This individual also continues to threaten anyone that disagrees with him that they will be sued by him. Additionally the petition claims that by signing the petition individuals will be preserving a right to vote that is not allowed for under Florida statutes. Short of hiring a lawyer which is beyond our means what actions can be taken to stop this.

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Free speech rights as guaranteed by the First Amendment generally give any idiot the right to circulate petitions without any requirement that the petition be truthful or based in fact. Unless the petition itself rises to the level of actionable defamation, there’s not much you can do except fight his bad speech with good, factual speech, perhaps by pointing out his problems to your local news media. With all that said, if he is making demonstrably false claims, or making promises that are inconsistent with the law, your local election officials may have a cause of action against him for some sort of fraud, or at minimum, may simply reject his petition as being invalid. In any case, the truth will eventually carry the day, so sticking to the high road may be the best course of action. Let the nutcase self-destruct on his own.

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Author: Ray Everett-Church, Esq.

Ray Everett-Church is a privacy and security consultant with PrivacyClue LLC and is co-author of "Internet Privacy for Dummies"