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Free Speech

The right to express yourself regardless of the popularity your views is basic to a democratic society. Throughout its history, the ACLU has met challenges from officials who cite reasons old and new to restrict this right. We recognize that if one person can be silenced, all of us are at risk.
Know Your Rights: Street Speech.  Can I pass out flyers to crowds at a mall?  A farmers market? At a school or campus? Find out!
Download our know your rights guide to protests
State Supreme Court overturns anti-panhandling law
After ACLU mation, Whatcom County prosecutor withdrew a search warrant for protest group's Facebook page

Resources

Published: 
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Protest—and engagement in vigorous political debate—lies at the core of our democracy.  But incitement to violence, and actual participation in violence, has no place in the First Amendment. Cities and their police departments have a duty to protect all residents from physical violence while accommodating the rights of all people who seek to protest. Here are some questions and answers about First Amendment, free speech, and protest rights.

Voting Rights Restoration in Washington State

Document, Published: 
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Under Washington law, individuals convicted of felonies that have their right to vote automatically restored as soon as they have completed incarceration and any community custody required by the Department of Corrections. This brochure briefly explains the law and answers frequently asked questions.  
Published: 
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Lawyers who provide free legal advice to immigrants can continue to do so now that federal court judge Richard A. Jones has granted Northwest Immigrant Rights Project’s (NWIRP) request for a preliminary injunction against the Department of Justice.

Know Your Rights: Speech in Public Places

Document, Published: 
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Can I pass out flyers in a mall? Talk to visitors to a farmers market? Speak on the grounds of a college campus? Download our guide to your free speech rights in public places.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, June 30, 2017
President Trump’s so-called “Presidential Commission on Election Integrity” is a sham commission that uses false claims of voting fraud as a pretext for voter suppression.

Equal Access Act

Document, Published: 
Friday, May 5, 2017
Many schools allow students to form clubs, like a drama club or a debate club. Under the law, schools cannot discriminate against student clubs, like Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) for example, simply because they disagree with the message or purpose of a club. This document provides information about the federal Equal Access Act and protections for student clubs.

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