Elizabeth Warren is showing her authoritarian side.
If you give out incorrect information about where or when to vote, she wants you to be charged with a crime.
Not only is this is a strange idea, there are some First Amendment issues here.
Elizabeth Warren Wants To Make It a Crime To Give Out Fake Info About Voting
Warren’s plan does not go so far as to suggest criminal penalties for everything the government declares to be “disinformation,” fortunately.
But she does propose criminal and civil penalties for anybody who attempts to spread false information about the voting process. This comes directly from her plan released today to “Fight Digital Disinformation.” Here’s her actual proposal (emphasis hers):
Push to create civil and criminal penalties for knowingly disseminating false information about when and how to vote in U.S. elections: Voter suppression efforts of any kind offend basic American values.
In both the 2016 and 2018 elections, online disinformation sought to depress voter turnout by telling people they could vote via text, giving people the wrong date for election day, and more. I will push for new laws that impose tough civil and criminal penalties for knowingly disseminating this kind of information, which has the explicit purpose of undermining the basic right to vote.
That’s the only part of her plan that calls for criminal penalties for speech. It’s still bad and wrong, but not as awful as it could be. Warren links to a report from the Brennan Center about Russian-led online suppression campaigns that aren’t just about deceiving voters but also encouraging them to “boycott” elections. That’s not deception. That’s a position—an opinion attempting to persuade. Would that also be a crime?
This is especially ironic coming from Warren, who has repeatedly given out fake information about herself over the years.
She lied about being a Native American, she lied about losing a job for being pregnant.
Should she be charged with a crime?