Numerous yard signs for the campaign of Travis McConnell for Commissioner are going up around the county. Apparently one or two have been tagged with notices questioning the legality of their posting, citing Indiana Code 36-1-3-11. That law states in sections (c) and (d):
(c) Subject to subsection (d), an ordinance or a regulation of a political subdivision relating to the number or size of signs is unenforceable during the following period:
(1) Beginning sixty (60) days before an election.
(2) Ending at the beginning of the sixth day after the election.
(d) This section does not prohibit a political subdivision from enforcing an ordinance or regulation relating to the number or size of signs at any time if necessary to ensure public safety.
The above language intends to set limits on “ordinances and regulations” that are created by “political subdivisions.” It does not create an ordinance that applies statewide of 60 days before and 6 days after an election.
Kosciusko County’s ordinance states that signs must be removed upon the conclusion of their temporary purpose. The purpose is the election in November, and the signs will be removed after that election. Kosciusko’s ordinance does not set any limitations on signage prior to elections. The City of Warsaw’s ordinance has a total time limit of six months. The signs will not be up that long.
Moreover, as yard signs are a display of political speech, the most sacred and protected form of speech in our country, they are very strongly protected by the First Amendment. As an attorney, I have sworn an oath to uphold the same probably a half dozen times or more for various appointments. Bare statements under the color of law, are the type of government overreach that we as Americans should not accept.
For the time being, our campaign plans to continue making signage available, for want of a state, county, or township ordinance to the contrary. In the spirit of fairness, we encourage other campaigns to do the same.
Editor’s note: Travis McConnell is running for the middle district seat for county commissioner in Kosciusko County.