Cleveland - In a victory for free speech rights, the City of Willowick has decided to change an ordinance concerning restrictions on political signs on Willowick residents' lawns.
Previously, the City of Willowick required residents to remit a deposit of one hundred dollars ($100) before displaying political signs. It also prohibited the display of lawn signs outside of the thirty (30) days leading up to an election and the five (5) days following it. These regulations placed unreasonable restrictions on the free speech rights of Willowick residents, and the ACLU of Ohio contacted the City to urge them to change their policy.
Today, the ACLU of Ohio learned that the City of Willowick intends to change the ordinance in question so that it does not interfere with Willowick residents' rights to free speech.
Cities are allowed to place some reasonable restrictions on the display of political signs, but the ACLU of Ohio would have challenged the deposit scheme and time restrictions in Willowick had they remained in effect.
According to ACLU of Ohio staff member Erin Reiffer, "the city of Willowick's policy was plainly unconstitutional. When we went to the City of Willowick with our concerns, they were very reasonable about it. Because they agreed to change the ordinance in a timely fashion, we were able to avoid costly and time-consuming legal proceedings."
As a result of the City of Willowick's decision to change their sign ordinance, Willowick residents will be able to post signs on their lawns to express their political views, as is their right under the First Amendment.