Fluvanna County suspends enforcement of campaign signs ordinance

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FLUVANNA COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Fluvanna County is temporarily removing its restrictions on campaign signs after facing First Amendment concerns from the Rutherford Institute.

The county had prohibited the posting of any campaign signs until 60 days before an election. However, Democratic candidate Elizabeth Alcorn, who is running for the 58th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, challenged that restriction.

Alcorn argued that she needed to post the signs earlier in order to get more name recognition, since she is challenging long-time incumbent Republican Rob Bell.

Fluvanna County Attorney Frederick Payne sent a letter to the Rutherford Institute saying the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors plans to study the issue and hold public hearings, but the board has directed staff to "suspend enforcement of the time restrictions in the ordinance, pending resolution of the issue."

"Americans have the right to freedom of political expression, whether that 'expression' takes place at a podium, on a t-shirt, a billboard, a picket sign, or on a campaign sign," said John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute.

Whitehead argued that the county's restriction on campaign signs violates the First Amendment because it puts limits on political signs that don't apply to other signs, like "for sale" signs or "no trespassing" signs.

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