Valley Public Radio

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Jun 11, 2019 Before last November’s national election, Fresno County removed the Unitarian Universalist Church on Alluvial Avenue as a polling location because of concerns over two “Black Lives Matter” banners. On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California sued county Registrar of Voters Brandi Orth, arguing the decision violated the church’s First Amendment rights . “It’s an important free speech issue and it also really lifts up some racial justice issues in Fresno,” says staff attorney Mollie Lee. Although state elections laws do govern which messages can be posted at polling places, and how far they need to be from ballot boxes, Lee says the banners were in compliance. “This sign wasn’t about a candidate or ballot measure, and it was far outside that 100 foot zone, so there was just no authority for the registrar to take this action,” she says. At the time of the move, a county representative told the Fresno Bee that voter complaints had raised concerns that the banners

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