Citizens in McKinney are free to electioneer outside the polls on Election Day after a Collin County district judge issued a temporary restraining order late Monday enjoining the City of McKinney from enforcing an unconstitutional city electioneering ordinance.
The TRO was issued in response to a lawsuit brought by a group of activists who are supporting Philip Huffines in the Senate District 8 contest, including Huffines’ nephew Devin Huffines and Aaron Harris of Direct Action Texas. The five plaintiffs were all cited on Friday by McKinney Police when they refused to cease electioneering outside of one of the city’s busiest polling locations. The city was attempting to enforce an ordinance that restrained electioneering to a small designated area in a muddy field several hundred feet away from the entrance to the polling location. The group of activists insisted on electioneering in the areas prohibited by the city ordinance, but outside of the 100-foot boundary designated under state law.
In their lawsuit, the activists cited a 2015 US Supreme Court decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert in which the Court found an Arizona city’s content-based regulation on signage violated the First Amendment. Similarly, they argued that McKinney’s ordinance, by discriminating against political speech, including electioneering, violated the First Amendment. In a preliminary decision, Collin County District Judge Ben Smith agreed, granting a temporary restraining order barring the city from enforcing the ordinance.
The parties will return to court in coming weeks to determine whether the restraining order should be converted into a temporary injunction and ultimately into a permanent injunction.

Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.

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