Back to All Press Release

Town Of Essex Makes Important Concession Over Its “Signs” Laws

The Supervisor of the Town of Essex said that prior to Election Day, the Town will not enforce its controversial law restricting the use of political signs on front lawns. Supervisor Ronald Jackson’s statement in a U.S. District Court in Albany this morning action comes as the NYCLU is challenging the law as being unconstitutional. NYCLU Staff Attorney Beth Haroules argued the case on behalf of the NYCLU which was seeking a temporary restraining order prior to Election Day. The Town’s concession made such an order unnecessary.

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 criminal penalties, 6 month’s imprisonment and civil 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 had called upon the Essex officials to stop enforcing the law and to change the law to reflect constitutional standards. Essex officials have declined to make any changes. The NYCLU will continue its challenge of the constitutionality of the law in federal court.

Click here to read the NYCLU’s lawsuit.

As bold as the spirit of New York, we are the NYCLU.
© 2024 New York
Civil Liberties Union