Anyone in Colorado can file a complaint, and it's forwarded to an administrative law judge regardless of merit.
Critics say that has created a system ripe for abuse by political opponents. The judge wrote that the process infringes upon First Amendment-protected speech.
The ruling stemmed from a complaint against a woman who placed political ads in her local newspaper. The judge found the woman did nothing wrong, but the complaint process cost her thousands of dollars.
The decision means the secretary of state may have to adopt rules to vet future complaints.
Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com