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NYCLU Tells Town Of Essex Its “Signs” Law Violates The First Amendment

The New York Civil Liberties Union today advised the Town of Essex its zoning ordinance restricting the use of political signs on front lawns is a violation of the First Amendment. NYCLU staff attorney Beth Haroules sent a letter to town officials demanding that they cease and desist from enforcing the law.

The Town of Essex adopted a zoning law on June 12, 2003 that states that temporary signs for “a political campaign…may be erected no more than 30 days prior to the event and shall be removed by the sponsor within 7 days after the close of the event.” Violation of this law may result in fines of up to $100 per day.

The NYCLU notes that a political yard sign is a classic example of the core political speech that is at the heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to free expression. It has called upon the officials there to stop enforcing the law and to change the law at the Town of Essex’s next planning and zoning meeting to reflect constitutional standards.

The NYCLU will continue to closely monitor the situation.

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