Ask Us: Why was Rowan County seal used to advertise political forum?

Published 12:37 am Monday, August 9, 2021

Editor’s note: Ask Us is a weekly feature published online Mondays and in print on Tuesdays. We’ll seek to answer your questions about items or trends in Rowan County. Have a question? Email it to askus@salisburypost.com.

SALISBURY — The Rowan County seal was used last month on a flyer promoting a political candidate forum held at Sloan Park, prompting a reader to question whether the event was sponsored by county government.

The answer, County Attorney Jay Dees said, is that the county government did not sponsor the event and no one to his knowledge has asked to use the county’s seal.  The seal, he said, should not be used without express consent.

“As a courtesy, I would assume anyone wishing to use the county’s seal would request permission before they used it,” Dees said. “It’s not their seal to use and certainly doesn’t represent any indication that a county has sponsored or condoned an event for a political candidate.”

Political candidates are free to use the county’s geographic outline to promote themselves or an event, Dees said, but not the official county seal.

“It gives a false impression that the county supports or has condoned the event or the candidate,” Dees said.

The circular Rowan County seal has yellow, blue and white trimming on the outside with the date April 12, 1753, the date on which Rowan County was formed. On the interior of the seal is the North Carolina state flag, the shape of the county with Salisbury designated and the name Matthew Rowan, the county’s namesake and the state’s colonial governor from 1753 to 1754.

Dees said that he’s attempted to get word out to political candidates, including several of those who participated in the forum, to refrain from using the seal if they have been. If the county seal is continuously used to advertise political events or candidates, Dees said the county could respond by sending a cease and desist letter.