Charleston City Council will consider a measure Tuesday that increases the maximum number of public speakers at a council meeting and gives speakers more time to share their viewpoints.

The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia wholeheartedly supports any measure that increases free speech and civic engagement.

Our local elected leaders campaigned for their positions. They knocked on our doors, called us, and approached us at public events to ask for our votes. They shouldn’t be too busy now to hear from us about issues that matter to us.

We’ve seen it time and again. A controversial issue is placed on the agenda, and one side turns out early to claim all the speaking slots, shutting out opposing viewpoints. Who has the ability to show up early? Not the working poor. Expanding public comments helps ensure city officials hear a broad array of opinions on a subject.

We can see no reason for the council to reject such a measure.