City of McHenry Removes Political Signs

Letter sent to some politically active folks in McHenry.

A Friend of McHenry County Blog sent the following email along with the photo you see above:
Sign removal policy McHenry:

I received this today.

When I called to inquire, they said that they send it out to a large list of politically Active.

The street department routinely removes many signs every day from the public right-of-way.

For campaigns looking for the signs, they used to be taken to the Public Works Building north of the swimming pool.


City of McHenry Removes Political Signs — 18 Comments

  1. reduce sign distraction, is well said, like texting political signs are distracting.
    Great law, and it’s good to see they are enforcing the law.

  2. Nothing more depressing than learning about the removal of political campaign signs. City of McHenry officials should realize we have our very own sunshine blogger who need those signs for his never-ending irrelevant stories. Please don’t you dare to even suggest you are considering removing all cats out of beautiful McHenry county…Stay tuned…tic, tock, tic, tock, meow, meow, tic, tock…

  3. The Supreme Court has ruled that municipalities have the authority to regulate signage but that it is unconstitutional to single out political signs for special regulation. To single out political signs is to limit political speech, one of the foundations of our country enshrined in the first amendment.

    It’s unfortunate that no one on the McHenry board, nor their attorney, seems to be aware of this.

  4. Nob, with due respect, I disagree.

    The Supreme Court has ruled that while municipalities have a legitimate interest in regulating signage, it is unconstitutional to single out political signs. Political speech is one of our most fundamental rights, enshrined in the first amendment.

    It’s unfortunate that neither the McHenry City Council nor their attorney has noticed this flaw in their legislation.

  5. Sorry for the duplication. The site was acting up this morning so I rewrote my post. Now both comments are appearing.

  6. Good for the city of McHenry.

    Like a political sign is gonna sway a voter with an IQ above 60

  7. Most municipalities don’t allow non regulatory signs in the ROW anyway. If they do it must have be permitted.
    Even private property permanent signs need a permit.
    Politcal signs on private property is permitted.

  8. Sign distraction? You gotta be kidding me!

    These big government, city of McHenry elected officials ignore the great therapeutic value of those cute-looking, dome-shaped, R2D2-resemblant, red and blue colored elephants who graciously invite democrats to vote for republican candidates on local elections in these campaign signs.

    They really make our day. Don’t they?

    Sunshine blogger, being aware of your commitment to this increasingly relevant issue in the life of McHenry county citizens, I strongly encourage you to dig deeper into this issue.

    Let’s make it a litmus test for candidates.

    I yield the floor.

    Stay tuned…tic, tock, meow, meow, tic, tock, tic, tock…

  9. But only certain signs are coming down!

    Not all candidates! Just the ones King Jett axes.

  10. Nob, we are in agreement that municipalities have the legitimate authority to regulate signs of all types.

    However, the section of the municipal code pictured above specifically refers to political signs, not to signs of all kinds.

    It is EXACTLY this type of regulation that the Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional.

    If the City had cited a general rule against signs in the right of way, they would have a legitimate case.

    But if they single out political signs, they are in violation of the Constitution, as confirmed by the Supreme Court.

  11. I see your point Steve, they should of used different wording to avoid possible lawsuits.

  12. Agreed, Nob. My point was simply that they’re doing something stupid — something that violates peoples rights AND exposes them to lawsuits — and yet so easily fixed! I really don’t want to see the City of McHenry on the 6:00 news over this.

  13. They remove all signs from the ROW- political signs have no right to be there. They are politely letting them know where to collect them.

    I’m confident that isn’t sent to realtors or others who suffer the same fate.

    Stop being whiners and follow the law.

    It isn’t unconstitutional Steve.

    To place the sign there is illegal

  14. Dear Mary:

    The case in question is Reed et al. v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona, et al., (No. 13-502, June 18, 2015), and the Justices ruled 9-0 against towns that restricted signs based on content. The opinion specifically referenced special regulations regarding political signs and the opinion was explicit that such regulation violates the first amendment.

    The letter from the City of McHenry states, “The following is based on the McHenry Municipal Code… No political signs are permitted in any right-of-way within the City limits”

    Please note that it does NOT state signs of all types.

    Yes, it IS unconstitutional.

  15. Also, Mary, the McHenry ordinance specifically exempts real estate signs.

  16. Mary, now that you’ve had an opportunity to read the Supreme Court decision and the McHenry ordinance, have you changed your mind?

  17. How about sign size limits?

    That seems more reasonable – they have grown rather large over the past decade.

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