Chris Casey lobbies for free expression.

Chris Casey has a report from his recent trip to lobby the General Assembly to prohibit neighborhood associations from restricting the display of political signs on members’ property. It sounds like Chris had a great experience.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

2 replies on “Chris Casey lobbies for free expression.”

  1. While I applaud his civic participation, how about legislation to eliminate political signs entirely, or a truce between the parties on the matter. They are the most base form of brand awareness I can think of and I’ve never seen a political sign which conveys anything of substance.

    Naturally I say this in jest, but I’ve wrestled with this issue in my neighborhood, of which I’m a board member. Sign-age of all types are verboten because nobody wants a neighbor like the nut case on Rio Road with his “art out of place” and gravestone for the meadow creek parkway.

  2. Duane,

    In my POA managed community of Montclair many types of signs are allowed for legitimate purposes (for sale, for rent, yard sale, welcome home, it’s a boy/girl, etc..), and our covenants provide specific restrictions on the number, size, and duration that such signs can be displayed. I find that to be an appropriate way to balance the community’s interest in reducing any potential negative visual impact, and the needs of a homeowner. It is only political campaign signs that my POA singles out as a category for an absolute prohibition.

    The Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that political yards signs on a homeowner’s private property are protected by our First Amendment right to free speech. And Virginia law denys any Virginia locality the right to prohibit the display of a political sign by a homeowner. What I cannot find is where my POA finds a need to trump a right that the federal and state government have so clearly sought to protect.

    As they do with other types of signs, I do not have a problem with a POA being able to restrict their display by number, size and duration. In the last three years, I’ve found six states (AZ, CA, CO, NC, TX, WA) that have passed legislation to specifically protect homeowners in POAs to have some protections. In most cases they allow the display of a sign withing 45 days of an elections, with the POA still allowed to establish reasonable restrictions on the number and size of the signs that are allowed.

    I’m not anti-POA or opposed to all covenants. But POA’s that prohibit political signs completely go to far.


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