WASHINGTON — A week before the Virginia governor's election, a peculiar yard sign is popping up in parts of Virginia reading, "Keep Parents Out Of Classrooms. Vote McAuliffe. Keep Virginia Blue."
The signs are seemingly connected to a response candidate Terry McAuliffe gave during the final gubernatorial debate on September 28.
The candidates went back and forth over a bill that Mcauliffe vetoed when he was governor in 2016. The bill would have required all public schools to notify parents if their child was assigned 'instructional material' with sexually explicit content, given parents the ability to review the material and provide an alternative assignment to any student whose parent requested one.
“Yeah, I stopped the bill that I don’t think that parents should be telling schools what they should teach," McAuliffe said in September, during the debate.
That five-second clip has been featured in a Youngkin for Governor advertisement.
Photos of the yard signs have been circulating on social media.
Are these official signs from either campaign?
Terry McAuliffe campaign spokesperson
Glenn Youngkin campaign spokesperson
Democratic Party of Virginia spokesperson
Republican Party of Virginia spokesperson
Neither the campaigns nor the state's Democratic or Republican parties say they made the sign.
WHAT WE FOUND:
Our Verify researchers started by going straight to the source; a McAuliffe campaign spokesperson said, "These signs were not distributed or sanctioned by Terry for Virginia."
Next our Verify researchers turned to Glenn Youngkin's campaign and the state's Republican and Democratic parties. All of them denied making these signs.
In Virginia, it’s actually illegal for a candidate to make a yard sign without a disclosure saying who paid for it.
According to Virginia's election law regulating print media ads, the words “paid for by ________” or “authorized by _______” must be displayed in a “conspicuous manner.”
If a campaign breaks this law, it could mean a fine of up to $2,500 or even jail time if it's a "willful violation."
"The State Board of Elections (SBE) must receive a complaint through the Stand by Your Ad (SBYA) complaint process found on our website," Andrea Gaines, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Elections, said. "The SBE will then determine what penalty, if any, is levied against the committee at their next SBYA meeting.
So we can Verify, no, these signs didn't come from the either McAuliffe or Youngkin's teams. If they did, they would require a disclosure statement.