Sunday, February 18, 2018

Upshur County says no election signs unless polls open

By Glenn Evans
Feb. 1, 2018 at 12:21 a.m.

Upshur County courthouse

Upshur County political candidates no longer may place campaign signs on county property except during hours when voting is happening, commissioners in Gilmer decided Wednesday.

"The point is, we're really just trying to discourage people from putting signs on the courthouse lawn at all," County Judge Dean Fowler said after the unanimous vote.

The new rule, which mirrors policy followed by two local churches that double as polling sites, forbids candidates from advertising on the lawn of the Upshur County Courthouse until early voting begins Feb. 20.

And don't leave those signs there overnight, the new rule says. Campaigns must pick up their signs each night when early voting closes and may place them back in the grass the next morning when polls reopen.

The maintenance department will gather any signs left after polls close.

Elections Administrator Lory Harle added the 100-foot rule forbidding electioneering near polling sites remains in effect.

"The signs can only be on county property during voting hours," Harle said, adding she did not suggest the change.

Fowler said two people spoke on the topic during the public comment segment of Wednesday's meeting.

"They thanked us," he said. "And they said (the signs) just looked tacky."

Wednesday's action comes six weeks after the court agreed to take up all "little wire signs," for garage sales or other offers, everywhere once a deadline passes. That move, too, was couched as a county neatness issue.



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