Text of law at center of election lawsuit in Massachusetts

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BOSTON (AP) — A state law is at the center of a lawsuit that will be heard before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday.

Critics say the law infringes on free speech rights while defenders, including Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, argue it’s necessary to protect elections from fraud.

The law’s full text:

No person shall make or publish, or cause to be made or published, any false statement in relation to any candidate for nomination or election to public office, which is designed or tends to aid or to injure or defeat such candidate.

No person shall publish or cause to be published in any letter, circular, advertisement, poster or in any other writing any false statement in relation to any question submitted to the voters, which statement is designed to affect the vote on said question.

Whoever knowingly violates any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months.

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