Fluvanna County officials have decided not to enforce time limits on political campaign signs as the county reviews First Amendment concerns raised by The Rutherford Institute, according to a press release.
The Charlottesville-based institute sent a letter to the county in June saying that the regulations hinder political speech.
The regulations limited the display of political signs to the 60-day period before an election.
“The First Amendment is very clear: 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,” institute director John W. Whitehead said in the press release. “In a day and age when the freedom of speech is under attack across the board, it’s time to re-establish the idea that political speech is essential to and is the essence of self-government. It is for this reason that the protections afforded to expression under the law should have the fullest and most urgent application to speech as it relates to politics.”
The Rutherford Institute lodged its complaint after being contacted by Elizabeth Alcorn, a Democrat seeking the 58th District seat in the House of Delegates. The seat, which includes parts of Albemarle, Fluvanna and Rockingham counties and all of Greene County, is held by Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle.
The press release says that Alcorn became aware of the county’s ordinance on signs while preparing for the November election. Under the rules, supporters would have been unable to post signs until Sept. 6.
Changes to the ordinance will be considered by the Planning Commission, according to the press release.
Until a new ordinance is passed by the Board of Supervisors, the county will suspend enforcement of the ordinance.