breaking news

Boilermakers crush No. 2 Buckeyes

Political sign debate brewing in Warren County


A battle is brewing in Warren County over whether political signs can be posted on county property during election season.

Signs posted outside the Warren County Board of Elections office for two candidates in the March primary were removed Monday.

But signs for their opponents, propped up by a campaigner who was seated in the board office parking lot, were allowed to stand.

“I have first amendment rights to put my signs up,” Jack Chrisman said Monday after two signs he posted were removed from county property.

The Warren County commissioners are expected to vote March 1 on a new policy banning the placement of private signs on county property.

“You can’t convert public property for private use,” County Administrator Dave Gully said.

Gully said this does not prohibit people from displaying signs while on county property, protected as a form of free speech.

On Monday, campaigner Steve Burggraf was displaying signs for County Recorder Linda Oda and Steve Muterspaw, one of three candidates for state representative in the 62nd District in the GOP primary.

Removed from a knoll next to the parking lot were signs Chrisman had stuck in the ground for Donna Lynch, who is challenging Oda, and Ray Warrick, also running in the Republican primary to represent the 62nd District in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Scott Lipps is the third Republican in the state representative primary race.

Last fall, Gully said he directed county staff to remove any signs placed on public property after complaints from County Prosecutor David Fornshell whose office is near the board of elections office.

“Yesterday I received a phone call asking about campaign signs placed on county owned property — mostly near the Board of Elections,” Gully said in an October 2015 email. “I instructed Mark Harrison from Facilities Management to check for signs each night and to remove any he finds. My instructions to him are to remove any signs not attached to a live person (for instance a poll worker) and to start a stack in the storage yard.”

The issue has become more of a problem in Warren County with the increased popularity of early voting.

“You’re looking at two months or better potentially of signage over there,” Commissioner Pat South said during a Feb. 9 discussion of the new policy.

“People are getting more aggressive putting up signs,” Commissioner Dave Young added. “We’ve never had to address it before.”

While open to the overall ban, Commissioner Tom Grossmann, a county prosecutor in Hamilton County, warned against “content-based prohibitions” that could set the table for a successful legal challenge.

“This is a dangerous area,” he said during the February discussion.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Springboro to add 6 new police officers over next 2 years
Springboro to add 6 new police officers over next 2 years

By the end of 2020, six new police officers should be patrolling Springboro. On Thursday night, Springboro City Council supported the staffing increases called for by Police Chief Jeff Kruithoff and expected to add about $400,000 to the city budget in 2020. “These are all things we can afford,” City Manager Chris Pozzuto said during a presentation...
Attorney says she talked to woman who made claim against Sherrod Brown 
Attorney says she talked to woman who made claim against Sherrod Brown 

A Canton attorney says she has talked to a woman who alleges U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, “roughly” pushed her against a wall while making a sexual advance after he was divorced in the late 1980s. The attorney, Laura Mills, is a managing partner in the Canton law firm Mills, Mills, Fiely & Lucas.   Mills would not identify...
Warren County jail costs increase as project moves forward
Warren County jail costs increase as project moves forward

Warren County commissioners rejected the idea of building a roundabout at a key intersection in the government complex in Lebanon, but otherwise sent consultants back to work on final drawings for a new county jail and sheriff’s office. “It’s been more than 15 years coming,” Commissioner Dave Young said after the meeting. During...
8th Congressional District debate at Miami-Hamilton this week: How to go
8th Congressional District debate at Miami-Hamilton this week: How to go

Miami University Regionals and the Journal-News will host the 8th Congressional District debate this week in Hamilton. The representative to the 8th Congressional District will represent all of Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami and Preble counties, and the southernmost portion of Mercer County.  Here’s what you need to know if you go: Miami University...
Democrats outraising Republicans in some key races
Democrats outraising Republicans in some key races

Six Democratic challengers outraised Ohio Republican U.S. House members last quarter, including one who raised more than three times the amount of the senior Republican in the state’s House delegation. With weeks to go until Election Day, Democrats Aftab Pureval, Danny O’Connor, Ken Harbaugh, Janet Garrett, Betsy Rader and Theresa Gasper...
More Stories