What We Stand For

The Communist Party of Indiana CPUSA struggles for socialism: to better the lives of Indiana's working families, to protect and extend labor's ability to organize, for the needs of women, children, immigrants (documented and undocumented), the disabled, LGBT, and all people who strive for affordable quality health care, housing, and education. We stand against racism in all its forms. We stand for jobs for all. We stand for peace. We support all who struggle world wide for the dignity and self-determination of the majority of their nation's people and against imperialism, occupation, and exploitation for private profit.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Plainfield, Lebanon will drop rules on political yard signs

In a victory for democracy and free speech, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana (ACLU) has won the right for people to show political signs.

As reported in the Indianapolis Star:

Ken Falk, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, which filed the suits, said the local ordinances tried to curtail one of the purest forms of free speech.

Many cities and towns in the state adopted similar laws years ago to curtail the visual clutter of yard signs during campaign season and to treat candidates equally.

In many communities, the ordinances say election signs may be no larger than a real estate "for sale" sign and may not be displayed more than 30 days before of an election.

In September, as the race for president was heating up in Indiana, the ACLU sued three communities -- Plainfield and Lebanon in metropolitan Indianapolis, and Highland near Chicago -- when local officials attempted to enforce their rules on yard signs.

All three suits were triggered by complaints to the ACLU by supporters of Democratic nominee Barack Obama after the local governments removed their yard signs or asked that they be removed.

Falk said Tuesday that the suits against Highland and Lebanon have been settled. Both city councils voted late last year to delete the controversial wording from their sign control laws and agreed to pay attorney fees and other costs sought by the ACLU.

Plainfield is in the process of completing a settlement in the case against them.

In the big dollar world of campaign outreach, yard signs are a way for each individual or family to express themselves and participate in the election process. While the rationale for the anti-sign laws may have been to protect neighborhood aesthetics, the controls on signage had the effect of muting the voices of people challenging the incumbent, and was therefore anti-democratic.

The US electoral system favors incumbents, so silence equates to support of the incumbent. Low cost expressions of support for candidates allow an individual or family to stand up and be counted prior to the election, and thereby influence their neighbors, or stimulate further discussion.

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