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ACLU gets Md. town to rescind campaign sign limits

HANCOCK — The western Maryland town of Hancock is rescinding an ordinance that put time limits on front-yard campaign signs after the American Civil Liberties Union objected on First Amendment grounds.

Town Manager David Smith said Thursday the town council agreed Wednesday night to rescind the ordinance, which took effect in April.

The ordinance prohibited campaign signs on private property before Jan. 2 of an election year, and required their removal within 72 hours after an election.

Smith says the ordinance was meant to respect the solemnity of the Christmas holiday season and keep the town aesthetically pleasing.

The ACLU said in a letter to the town last week that worries about visual clutter cannot trump the political free-speech rights of candidates and residents.

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