Michigan Yard Sign Regulations

Michigan-flagPart of planning a political campaign in Michigan means knowing the sign regulations and laws. According to the state of Michigan, yard signs are your responsibility and the Michigan Department of Transportation will not think twice before they remove your illegally placed sign. All signs must be more than 30 feet from the edge of the roadway and if the highway has curbs, your sign must be place more than three feet from the back of the curb.

But you shouldn’t obey the law just because your sign might be removed. You need to inform yourself about campaign regulations so that you don’t have your political opponents another reason to attack your candidacy.

Michigan Yard Sign Regulations

Starting at the end of the campaign, all signs must be removed within ten days after the elections. They are not permitted within intersections or along commercial driveways, because they may cause traffic hazards. Have in mind that you are not allowed to place signs within limited access rights-of-way either.

If you put a campaign sign along the highway, they must stay more than thirty feet from the roadway but only if the highway doesn’t gave curbs. If the highway has curbs, signs have to stay three feet from the curb.

There are ways to be sure you are placing your signs along the highway the right way. For example, try using a three foot and a thirty foot string and they will help you avoid mistakes in campaign planning.

MDOTDepartment of Transportation in Michigan has developed these regulations to keep motorists safe. They are also in charge of the enforcement and removal of illegally placed signs. If your signs are removed by MDOT, they will be stored by a local officer for seven days.

If you do not come for them within the seven days, they will be disposed of. You can avoid a lot of campaign time and expense by avoiding this situation in the first place by following Michigan’s yard sign rules.

Local Yard Sign Regulations

Municipal laws and regulations may have some additional restrictions above and beyond the state law. They often affect the place or time you can place a sign. Also, they may also apply to the circumstances under which you may or may not place a sign on someone’s private property or along the municipal local right-of-way. For example, campaign signs in the city of Allen Park may be posted 60 days before elections and in the village of Manchester signs may be posted 45 days before Election Day. As for the size of the signs, some municipalities in Michigan require certain dimensions for signs before they are posted. City of St. Claire Shores does not allow signs to be bigger than three feet height and four feet in width. Other regulations mostly apply to shape and how long you may keep a sign on someone else’s lawn. Of course, if you are not sure what law applies in your municipality, contact your local municipality for more information.

Conclusion

In order to win elections, you need to know the rules of the game. More importantly, you need to work within the legal framework to win. Knowing more about placing the campaign signs in your state can defend you from your opponents but also, it can give you a chance to turn the tables if they do not follow the rules. You need to take special care of local laws because they can differ from city to city. Do not place your signs on places where they can cause traffic hazards.

The Department of Transportation in Michigan will remove your sign and dispose of it after seven days if you don’t come to pick them up. Also, do not place your signs along limited access highways. Do not forget to remove your signs 10 days after the election. Finally, do not forget about the thirty feet distance from white line at the highway without curbs and three feet distance along the highway with the curb.

Disclaimer: I’m not an attorney nor do I play one on TV. This is not legal advice or opinion. It’s simply a collection of information that I have been able to gather from online and offline sources and have applied to political campaigns.

Florida Yard Sign Regulations

welcome to floridaYard signs are a great way to increase candidate name recognition in a political campaign though candidates should adhere to state and local campaign sign regulations to keep their Although yard signs can be a great way of supporting your candidate, this form of expressing your political belief may conflict with a city/state ordinance, limiting the time signs can be displayed. Laws differ from state to state, and that is why it is important to go through all of the documentation governing Florida yard sign regulations.

Florida Yard Sign Regulations

In Florida, yard sign regulations are governed by Section 106.1435 of the state code.

  • Campaigns are not allowed to place signs on the state, county or city rights of way
  • Political signs are not allowed private property without the permission of the landowner
  • Your campaign signs must be removed with thirty days of the election or the withdrawal or elimination of your candidacy

It may sound obvious, but these rules do not apply for advertisements on motor vehicles, campaign t-shirt or other worn objects, and on signs that fall under chapter 479 of the state’s statutes such as billboards and other business signage. Another piece of commonsense, don’t post signs in places where they impact a driver’s ability to see a traffic signal or a motorist’s view more generally. Think before deciding on the locations of campaign signs!

What happens when you do not follow the state’s regulations? The candidate him or herself is on the hook for the cost of removal. If your campaign signs are not removed within the legal time period, “the political subdivision or governmental entity has the authority to remove such advertisements and may charge the candidate the actual cost of such removal.”

Do not forget to include a disclaimer, because according to Florida statute 106.1435, “any political advertisement paid by either a candidate or a political party must be approved in advance, and must state who paid for the advertisement (or include the name and address of the persons sponsoring it).” If your sign is written in a language other than English, the disclaimer information may be provided in the language used in that advertisement.

Finally, theft, in any form including election signs, is prohibited. This is one the most common illegal yard sign activities, and the most damaging to your reputation. Just don’t do it, and let your staff and volunteers know that they shouldn’t steal signs either. Conversely, be on the lookout for your own signs. If they are stolen, make sure that they are replaced quickly and if it’s appropriate, take the other candidate to task for running roughshod over state theft laws.

Local Yard Sign Regulations

Political campaigns should bear in mind that the state’s regulations do not prevent municipalities from imposing their own requirements on campaign signs, so long as they aren’t in conflict with Florida’s regulations. These local ordinances can include a variety of restrictions including:

  • Requiring permits before posting signs
  • Limiting the size and shape of political signs
  • Restricting the time period that campaigns can distribute signs
  • Imposing fines and penalties to campaigns and candidates that violate local sign ordinances

Go to your local governments’ websites in your district to find out more information about the sign ordinances in those communities and contact their offices if there isn’t information online to be sure that you are following the law in the town’s that you will represent.

Conclusion

Using campaign signs can give your candidacy a real boost, so you should definitely think about implementing them, but it is absolutely necessary to comply with the rules and regulations of the city’s that are within your district boundaries and the state of Florida. The last thing you want is to face legal trouble just because you have not put enough effort in your campaign strategy.

If legal issues weren’t enough, let’s think about the politics too. While this is a minor offense, your political opponents could point out the irony of someone who wants to a be part of government violating the government’s laws or your local news media could do the same.

Do the right thing ethically and politically – follow the state and local regulations related to campaign signs.

Disclaimer: I’m not an attorney nor do I play one on TV. This is not legal advice or opinion. It’s simply a collection of information that I have been able to gather from online and offline sources and have applied to political campaigns.

Arizona Yard Sign Regulations

Arizona Welcome SignWhile not without controversy, Arizona made navigating the state’s campaign sign regulations much easier in 2011 when they limited localities’ ability to prohibit campaigns for distributing signs sixty days before the primary election and ending fifteen days after the general election aside from candidate who lose in the primary. Those candidates must remove their signs within fifteen days following the primary election.

When Arizona’s Sign Regulation Applies to Local Governments

Political campaigns must meet five requirements regardless of whether it is within the time frame that Arizona allows yard signs throughout the state. Here they are straight from the state’s code:

  1. The sign is placed in a public right-of-way that is owned or controlled by that jurisdiction.
  2. The sign supports or opposes a candidate for public office or it supports or opposes a ballot measure.
  3. The sign is not placed in a location that is hazardous to public safety, obstructs clear vision in the area or interferes with the requirements of the Americans with disabilities act (42 United States Code sections 12101 through 12213 and 47 United States Code sections 225 and 611).
  4. The sign has a maximum area of sixteen square feet, if the sign is located in an area zoned for residential use, or a maximum area of thirty-two square feet if the sign is located in any other area.
  5. The sign contains the name and telephone number or website address of the candidate or campaign committee contact person.

If one of your campaign signs is found in violation of one or more of these five requirements, the jurisdiction must notify the campaign and give the candidate twenty four hours to bring the sign back into compliance with Arizona’s regulations before removing the sign. If the jurisdiction deems that it is an emergency situation, such as causing a hazard for traffic or pedestrians, the proper authorities may remove the sign immediately, but they also must notify the campaign committee within seventy two hours of relocating the sign.

Home Owners Associations and Yard Signs

Arizona also has strong laws protecting citizens’ right to free speech who belong to home owners’ associations. In 2004, Arizona ensured that members of HOAs could fly flags, such as the state and U.S. flag, regardless of any restrictions in their covenant with their HOA so long as they met the requirements laid out in the federal flag code.

The Arizona state legislature acted again and now protects HOA residents from a host of political campaign activities including posting signs for political candidates on their private property.

Side note, Gawker has a telling article with a laundry list of HOA horror stories. Across the country, many home owners associations have prevented residents from flying U.S. flags, military flags, and other forms of political speech. At Campaign Trail Yard Signs, we support regulations that protect public safety and understand that there are aesthetic concerns to consider in addition to an individual’s interest in displaying a candidate sign, but we’ve heard countless stories of austere HOA policies. If your HOA in Arizona tells you to remove your campaign sign, make sure that you are complying the state regulation above, and tell them to go pound sand!

Political Consequences of Violating Sign Regulations

While there are no financial penalties for violating the state’s sign regulations, there are political ones. If you put a sign out too early, post a sign bigger than the law allows, or keep a sign out too long, for example, you’re inviting your political opponent or the local news media to take your campaign to task for failing to follow the law.

Especially since Arizona’s laws are easy to understand and follow, educating volunteers and staying compliant as a campaign is simple. If you stray from these simple rules, it’s just as easy for your political opponents to find out and call you on the carpet.

Nevada Yard Sign Regulations

Highway 50 sign in Nevada with a bicyclist peddling up the road.

Posting Political Signs within Nevada’s State Highway Right of Ways

It is illegal to post campaign signs within the right-of-way of state highways. Like many other states, it can be a challenge to identify what roads are under Nevada DOT control and which are local or federal roads, which have a different set of regulations to abide by. State highways include not only the well numbered rural routes but many country roads and city streets. If you have a question about the right of way for state highways, NDOT recommends calling your local district office. In Clark County call the District I Office in Las Vegas at (702) 385-6540, in Tonopah call (775) 482-2300, in northwestern Nevada call the District II Office in Sparks at (775) 834-8300, in Winnemucca call (775) 623-8000, in northeastern Nevada call the District III Office in Elko at (775) 777-2700, and in Ely call (775) 289-1700.

Once you have identified that the road is a state road, you campaign must follow the regulations established in Nevada’s state code, namely:

  • Political signs should not be a distraction to drivers. Be careful where you put signs in intersections and elsewhere, so you do not cause accidents. Also, don’t place signs in a way that blocks the view of oncoming traffic.
  • Your sign cannot resemble official traffic signs.
  • From NDOT, “Political signs erected on private property that is adjacent to a state highway may be erected no more than 60 days before a primary election and must be removed within 30 days after the primary election. Signs for candidates or questions appearing on the general election ballot do not have to be removed until 30 days after the general election.”
  • Political campaign signs adjacent to and within 660 feet of any state highway must meet federal requirements. For yard signs or any other 4′ x 8′ or smaller sign there is no need for a permit unlike larger signs.

Apart from state requirements, local governmental agencies can and do have varying criteria regarding placement of political signs on city and county roads. These local restrictions vary greatly among the various entities and must be checked locally.

Sample County Political Signs Requirements

Each county in Nevada has its own yard sign rules to follow. Some counties may not be any more stringent than the Nevada state regulations, but many counties have additional restrictions that you need to consider depending upon what county or counties that you are running for elected office in.

Douglas County, for example, has a number of other restrictions:

  • Campaigns are prohibited from posting signs on telephone polls or other traffic control posts.
  • You cannot post a political sign along the county right of way.
  • It is against the law to place a sign on private property without the property owner’s consent.
  • Campaign signs mustn’t obstruct the view of pedestrians or driving traffic.
  • Signs must be removed seven days following an election.

NDOT Political Sign Brochure

In addition to this blog post, the Nevada Department of Transportation has put together a handy brochure that summarizes the regulations and NDOT’s enforcement of law related to political signs, which as defined by NDOT, are “any temporary or portable display or device advertising for or against a candidate for public office or a political party or political point of view.”

Nevada DOT Sign Brochure

Consequences for Violating Nevada’s Sign Regulations

Depending upon whether the state road is in the middle of town, in the country, has a sidewalk, has NDOT facilities built along the road, etc. it can be difficult to know where exactly the state has right of way. If you have any questions about where Nevada’s right of way starts and ends, your best option is to give Nevada Department of Transportation’s Right of Way Division a call. In northern Nevada, (775) 888-7480 and in southern Nevada, (702) 385-6540

If you violate any of Nevada’s regulations for political signs, NDOT employees will remove your campaign’s signs and hold them at the nearest maintenance station. Campaigns can collect the signs from the NDOT maintenance station within thirty days of their removal. After thirty days, NDOT will dispose of the signs.

Unlike many other states, candidates are not assessed fines or fees from the Department of Transportation for the cost associated with removing and holding the signs or penalties for violating the state’s regulation. In fact, NDOT explicitly states that their employees will try to remove the signs without damaging them, which is rarely the case elsewhere. Of course, this is no excuse not to violate the state’s regulations because while the Department of Transportation may be forgiving, your opponent or the local newspaper may not be!

Ohio Yard Sign Regulations

Ohio Welcome You sign above the highwayOhio span almost 45,000 square miles. That’s a lot of area for campaign signs and a lot of opportunities for campaigns to find themselves on the wrong side of the state’s yard sign regulations. One of the best piece of advice that I’ve ever heard about candidates for elected office is that “the only bad candidate is the one who thinks he can’t lose.” One of the insights from this quote that you can take to the bank, voting booth rather, is that you shouldn’t take your opponent for granted.

Don’t play fast and loose with sign regulations. Always think that your opponent, local media outlets, or a concerned citizens will pick up on the violation and make your campaign for office more challenging than it already is!

Ohio Sign Law

According to Ohio law, only the Ohio Department of Transportation traffic signs are authorized on the state’s right of way. This means that campaign yard signs are prohibited from Ohio’s right of way.

The Department has jurisdiction over all interstates, Ohio state routes, and U.S. routes on the state’s highway system. ODOT, however, doesn’t have jurisdiction inside city and village limits.

The Ohio Department of Transportation will remove any signs that are found along the right of way. The Department’s crews will then take the lawn signs to the nearest county garage facility to be picked up by the campaign or sign’s owner. The campaign has up to thirty days to pick up the sign or risk having the yard signs thrown out.

If you need to find your local ODOT garage location, determine what district you’re in by looking at the map. Then, you’ll find the contact information for your local Department of Transportation garage facility where you can pick up your signs:

Map of Ohio DOT districts

District 1 – Lima

Serving the Counties of:
Allen, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert and Wyandot

Address:
1885 N. McCullough St.
Lima, Ohio 45801
Phone: (419) 222-9055
Fax: (419) 222-0438

District Deputy Director:
Kirk Slusher, (419) 999-6804
Public Information Contact:
Rhonda Pees, (419) 999-6803

District 2

Serving the Counties of:
Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca, Williams and Wood

Address:
317 East Poe Road
Bowling Green, Ohio 43402-1330
Phone: (419) 353-8131
Fax: (419) 353-1468

District Deputy Director:
Todd M. Audet, (419) 373-4412
Public Information Contact:
Theresa Pollick, (419) 373-4428

District 3

Serving the Counties of:
Ashland, Crawford, Erie, Huron, Lorain, Medina, Richland and Wayne

Address:
906 Clark Ave.
Ashland, Ohio 44805
Phone: (419) 281-0513
or (800) 276-4188 (OH only)
Fax: (419) 281-0874

District Deputy Director:
Allen C. Biehl, (419) 207-7002
Public Information Contact:
Christine S. Myers, (419) 207-7182

District 4

Serving the Counties of:
Ashtabula, Mahoning, Portage, Stark, Summit and Trumbull

Address:
2088 S. Arlington Road
Akron, Ohio 44306
Phone: (330) 786-3100
or (800) 603-1054 (OH only)
Fax: (330) 786-2210

District Deputy Director:
Anthony M. Urankar, (330) 786-2200
Public Information Contact:
Justin Chesnic, (330) 786-2209

District 5

Serving the Counties of:
Coshocton, Fairfield, Guernsey, Knox, Licking, Muskingum and Perry

Address:
9600 Jacksontown Rd.
Jacksontown, Ohio 43030
Phone: (740) 323-4400
Fax: (740) 323-3715
District Deputy Director:
Joe Rutherford, (740) 323-4400
Public Information Contact:
Lauren Holdsworth, (740) 323-5204

District 6

Serving the Counties of:
Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Madison, Marion, Morrow, Pickaway and Union

Address:
400 East William St.
Delaware, Ohio 43015
Phone: (740) 833-8000
Fax: (740) 833-8100
District Deputy Director:
Ferzan M. Ahmed, (740) 833-8211
Public Information Contact:
Nancy Burton, (740) 833-8063

District 7

Serving the Counties of:
Auglaize, Clark, Champaign, Darke, Logan, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery and Shelby

Address:
1001 St. Marys Ave. SR 29
Sidney, Ohio 45365
Phone: (937) 492-1141
Fax: (937) 497-9734

District Deputy Director:
Randy Chevalley, (937) 497-6770
Public Information Contact:
Mandi (Abner) Dillion, (937) 538-0979

District 8

Serving the Counties of:
Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Greene, Hamilton, Preble and Warren

Address:
505 South SR 741
Lebanon, Ohio 45036
Phone: (513) 932-3030
or (800) 831-2142 (OH only)
Fax: 513-932-7651
District Deputy Director:
Steve Mary, (513) 933-6594
Public Information Contact:
Sharon Smigielski, (513) 933-6511

District 9

Serving the Counties of:
Adams, Brown, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross and Scioto

Address:
650 Eastern Ave.
Chillicothe, Ohio 45601
Phone: (740) 773-2691
or (888) 819-8501 (OH only)
Fax: (740) 775-4889

District Deputy Director:
Vaughn Wilson, (740) 774-8833
Public Information Contact:
Kathleen Fuller, (740) 774-8834

District 10

Serving the Counties of:
Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Vinton and Washington

Address:
338 Muskingum Dr.
Marietta, Ohio 45750
Phone: (740) 568-3900
or (800) 845-0226 (OH only)
Fax: (740) 373-7317

District Deputy Director:
T. Steve Williams, (740) 568-3901
Public Information Contact:
David Rose, (740) 568-3904

District 11

Serving the Counties of:
Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson and Tuscarawas

Address:
2201 Reiser Ave.
New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663
Phone: (330) 339-6633
Fax: (330) 308-3942

District Deputy Director:
Lloyd MacAdam, (330) 308-3950
Public Information Contact:
Becky (McCarty) Giauque, (330) 308-3949

District 12

Serving the Counties of:
Cuyahoga, Geauga and Lake

Address:
5500 Transportation Blvd.
Garfield Heights, OH 44125
Phone: (216) 581-2100
or (800) 732-4896 (OH only)
Fax: (216) 584-2274

District Deputy Director:
Myron S. Pakush, (216) 584-2000
Public Information Contact:
Amanda Lee, (216) 584-2005

Local Sign Laws

In addition to state sign laws, each locality can have additional rules that your campaign needs to follow. While this video is out of date from a political campaign perspective, it shows the kind of negative press that your campaign could receive from violating sign regulations and the consequences of those sign violations:

There are two great takeaways from this news story. First, not only will violating the state’s yard sign laws get your campaign in legal hot water but it may also backfire with voters who look at signs on the highway as a nuisance. Second, there are too many different local ordinances to mention, so if you are running for state legislature or any office that includes several localities, be sure to figure out what the sign ordinances are there before you order signs to avoid potential problems.

If you got what you were looking for some this post, would you please add a link to this page on your site or share it on social media, so that you can keep your fellow candidates and politicos on the right side of California’s campaign sign regulations as well?

Disclaimer: I’m not an attorney nor do I play one on TV. This is not legal advice or opinion. It’s simply a collection of information that I have been able to gather from online and offline sources and have applied to political campaigns.

Washington Yard Sign Regulations

It’s important for candidates, campaign staff, and supporters to the understand the state’s yard sign laws to avoid lost time involved in:

* Designing the sign
* Posting the sign in unlawful locations
* Recovering signs from the Department of Transportation

In a competitive campaign, time is critical. It is a political campaign’s only nonrenewable resource. There is only so much time till Election Day. The campaign that minimizes distractions and uses their time more wisely than the other candidate is at an advantage.

In addition, there are political consequences to violating Washington State yard sign laws. Your opponent is always looking for ways to attack your candidacy. If your yard signs are found in illegal locations, whether it was intentional or not, you can expect that the other candidate will take you to task for violating the law.

Dale Peterson, candidate for Alabama Agriculture Commissioner in 2010, did this in a TV ad. He criticized his opponent for stealing yard signs “in the dark of night” along with delivering his own campaign message. His populist demeanor and the content of this ad rocketed him from single digits in the polls to nearly 30%.

While he didn’t win the election, Peterson forced a run off and his endorsed candidate beat the one time frontrunner.

Washington Political Sign Laws

The Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 468-66, outlines the regulations for temporary political signs on private property visible from state highways. According to the code:

* All signs must be removed from removed from the road ways within ten days of the election
* The maximum allowable lawn sign size is 32 square feet
* Posted signs must meet all local regulations as well

There is a blanket restriction against posting signs within the state right of way. The Department admits that it’s not easy to determine where the right of way ends but offers some tips to understand where they end:

* Utility poles are inside the right of way. This means that putting a sign up before a telephone pole will violate the regulations.
* This same idea works with fences. Do not post signs between the fence and the road.

Private property owners, however, can post signs on their property, including along the highway, so long as they remove them within ten days of the election.

If there is ever a question where the state’s right of way ends or the campaign has another sign related questions, contact the WSDOT Outdoor Advertising Specialist at 360-705-7296. So that the specialist can give the most accurate information, make sure you know the route number along with the closest intersection or milepost number.

Municipal Sign Laws

Washington State’s Department of Transportation has a number of regulations for campaigns to follow. Campaigns with multiple local governments within the district will see the complexity of following yard sign laws grow exponentially.

Be sure to check with the proper local authority to determine if or how local ordinances impact your yard sign distribution strategy. Here are some of the common restrictions:

* When you can place a sign along the local right of way and sometimes on private property
* Limits on the size and shape of an election sign

Conclusion

Political campaigns that follow state and local lawn sign regulations will save time and prevent political attacks from the other candidate.

Understanding these laws is also an opportunity to hold your opponent accountable to the same standard that you are holding your own campaign to. If you see your opponent’s campaign yard sign in an illegal location, document it. Take a picture of the sign and distribute to the press, post it on the campaign blog, and consider using other methods to distribute this information to voters.

Then, let voters decide if they should vote for a candidate to make laws who doesn’t follow them.

Missouri Yard Sign Laws

This map shows the outlines of Missouri counties.I can’t tell you how many newspaper article I see where a candidate has stolen a yard sign or the Department of Transportation had to remove illegally posted signs. Don’t be that candidate.

By putting signs along the state’s right of way in Missouri you’re risking losing the time and money it took to design, order, and place those campaign lawn signs. Also, I’m sure that you want to run an ethical, above board campaign. In the big things like campaign finance and in the little things like only putting campaign signs up where and when it’s legal.

Missouri Political Sign Laws

“The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) would like to remind everyone that the posting of any kind of sign (political, advertising or personal) on state right-of-way along highways is illegal and can constitute a distracting and/or a traffic hazard.”

If a campaign doesn’t follow the state regulation, MoDOT crews will remove the sign and take it the local maintenance maintenance building. Now, political campaigns can recover the signs from the Department of Transportation but you will need to get them within thirty days of when the maintenance personnel removed the political lawn signs from the state road.

While Missouri’s rules for yard sign distribution aren’t terribly unclear, there are always issues that come up. Feel free to contact the Missouri Department of Transportation at their toll free customer service center 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (888-275-6636) during normal business hours or visit our website.

Local Sign Laws

Understanding Missouri’s sign regulations aren’t enough. Depending upon what elected office you are running for, there are a number of local governments and there’s a good chance that each of those municipal governments have differences in their sign ordinances.

Contact the municipal office for specifics but the most common restrictions in local ordinances:
* Prohibit or restrict access to the local right of way
* The size and shape of the campaign lawn sign
* The time frame that you can post signs and when you have to remove them

While you won’t find this as often, you might encounter broad prohibitions against posting campaign lawn signs particularly if you are placing signs on property in a homeowners association.

Conclusion

To wrap up, don’t put yard signs along the state’s right of way and be sure to check with the municipal governments that are you in your district so that you know of any local regulations. Sometimes, there are fines for violating the local ordinance, so be sure that you aren’t doing anything that could cost your campaigns hundreds or thousands of dollars!

Finally, use this information to hold the other candidate accountable. If you see a campaign sign that violates the law in Missouri, first, take a picture of it. Be sure to get enough context that it’s clear that the sign is violating the law. Tell MoDOT, post the image on your campaign website, and information local media. Voters have a right to know when a candidate is violating campaign laws.

New York Yard Sign Regulations

US Flags in New York cityIt’s important for political campaigns in New York to understand lawn sign laws and regulations in the state. Why? First, the New York State Department of Transportation will remove signs that don’t adhere to their regulations. Second, campaigns also risk political attacks from their opponents if they do not follow yard signs laws.

Imagine that your opponent discovered that your campaign has violated these regulations, intentionally or not, and calls the local newspaper reporter telling him that you’re campaign is trying to get an unfair advantage in the race. Moreover, that this issue isn’t just about campaigning but also trust. Why should voters trust you to create laws when you can’t follow some of the simplest among them?

To avoid the loss of time and money if the Department were to remove illegally placed signs and the political fall out from violating these regulations, it just takes a moment to understand the Department of Transportation’s guidance for political campaigns.

New York Political Sign Laws

Unlike some other states, political signs are categorized as temporary signs like the real estate signs, festival signs, and school event signs that are along the side of the road and must adhere to all the same regulations when they are placed along state’s highways in the right-of-way. All temporary signs must be removed within three days of the event. In this case, you should remove political signs within three days of the election.

First, campaign yard signs are prohibited outright from any controlled-access highway or expressway-type road. Some of these roads include I-87, I-890, Route 7, and Route 85.

Otherwise, signs shouldn’t be a detriment to safe driving. This means that campaigns shouldn’t place campaign signs in a median or traffic island where they are a distraction. In addition, the New York Department of Transportation notes that it’s important that candidates, staff, and volunteers do not cause “sight-distance problems or interfere with safe traffic movement in any area including intersections.”

Finally, the Department requires that campaigns do not put signs in the right-of-way in a fashion that prevents the state from mowing or otherwise interfere with their activities. This is a particularly difficult regulation to adhere to since you won’t likely know when and where the Department of Transportation is going to mow. With that said, this is more a of a concern in a primary election than in a general election since the the Department is more likely to mow in the spring than in the fall.

An important note is that these regulations apply whether these signs were put out by the campaign itself or by any other source. If a rogue supporter puts your signs out on a controlled-access highway, the Department is going remove them.

Municipal Sign Laws

Just like New York state, local governments can and do have additional restrictions on the placement of yard signs and on the signs themselves. Some of the most common local signs ordinances include restrictions on the size and shape of campaign yard signs, the time frame that private property owners can display signs on their lawn and in the municipal authority’s right-of-way.

Conclusion

Simply put, knowing and following yard sign regulations in New York is a smart move for political campaigns. It might be a good idea to print out a list of regulations to give to volunteers that you have putting signs out onto state roads or to other supporters so that if they spot violations of the regulation they can remove the signs before the Department does.

  • Remove signs within three days of the election
  • Do not place campaign signs on the expressway or on controlled-access roads
  • Avoid putting signs on the median or on traffic islands where they will be a distraction to drivers
  • Political signs shouldn’t be placed along the right where they will interfere with a driver’s ability to see
  • Likewise, signs impacting safe driving at intersections aren’t acceptable
  • Signs that interfere with the operations of the Department of Transportation, such as mowing, will be removed

The same cautions that apply to your campaign are also opportunities. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, so knowing these regulations will help you keep your opponent accountable to state yard sign laws.

When your opponent violates campaign sign laws, let the voters know. Voters have a right to know when a candidate isn’t playing by the rules.

If you got what you were looking for some this post, would you please add a link to this page on your site or share it on social media, so that you can keep your fellow candidates and politicos on the right side of California’s campaign sign regulations as well?

Disclaimer: I’m not an attorney nor do I play one on TV. This is not legal advice or opinion. It’s simply a collection of information that I have been able to gather from online and offline sources and have applied to political campaigns.

California Yard Sign Regulations

California State FlagOne of the simplest but most costly mistakes your campaign can make is being ignorant of California’s sign laws. Your campaign must file a statement of responsibility, which means if your campaign puts signs out too early, places them on landscaped highways, or otherwise violates California’s sign laws, the candidate, campaign manager, or whoever is on the state of responsibility will be billed for their removal.

Throw some negative press on top of the financial cost, and you can see why being aware of and following the state’s campaign sign laws is non-negotiable. Get it right and, heck, be on the look out for your opponent to mess up.

California Sign Laws

Political signs are unlike any other normal outdoor advertising displays in California.  Section 5405.3 of the State Outdoor Advertising Act exempts political signs from rules that impact other “for sale” signs, business signs, and other types of signs. Your sign, however, must meet certain requirements for it to fit into the state’s definition of a political sign, so be sure your sign meets the following criteria:

  1. Your campaign signs must encourage a particular vote in a scheduled election.
  2. You can’t post the sign more than 90 days prior to the election and you must remove the sign within 10 days following the election.
  3. Your yard sign can’t be more than 32 square feet.
  4. You must file a Statement of Responsibility with the Department of Encourages a particular vote in a schedule election.

Send your completed Statement of Responsibility must be submitted to:

Division of Traffic Operations
Outdoor Advertising Program
P.O. Box 942874, MS-36
Sacramento, CA 94274-0001

Once you design and order an election sign that meets California’s requirements for a political sign, there a few other things to keep in mind. Be sure that you don’t post signs within the right of way of any highway or be visible within 660 feet from the edge of the right of way of a classified landscaped freeway. If you do, the Department of Transportation will remove the sign, call the person who has certified that they are responsible for your campaign signs, and bill them for the removal of those signs. To keep your campaign safe, check out this list of landscaped freeways and keep your signs off of them:

California Landscaped Freeways

Municipal Sign Laws

Just like New York state, local governments can and do have additional restrictions on the placement of yard signs and on the signs themselves. Some of the most common local signs ordinances include restrictions on the size and shape of campaign yard signs, the time frame that private property owners can display signs on their lawn and in the municipal authority’s right-of-way.

New York City, for example, has significant penalties for sign violations:

Signs found in violation of building and zoning regulations are subject to fines and forced removal. Penalties for first time offences are $10,000 each and subsequent violations are $25,000 each.

Each illegal sign is ordinarily issued multiple violations for infractions against various zoning and code provisions.

Many times, enforcement is the strongest during campaign season because there are often candidates who aren’t familiar with the regulations and, therefore, violate them on a large scale and because of resident complaints. In May 2013, for example, recently stepped up enforcement in light of resident complaints. In May 2013, for example, Charlene Wagner voiced her concern before the Quality of Life committee that there were illegally placed commercial and political signs littering Staten Island, which resulted in stepped up enforcement.

If you got what you were looking for some this post, would you please add a link to this page on your site or share it on social media, so that you can keep your fellow candidates and politicos on the right side of California’s campaign sign regulations as well?

Disclaimer: I’m not an attorney nor do I play one on TV. This is not legal advice or opinion. It’s simply a collection of information that I have been able to gather from online and offline sources and have applied to political campaigns.

Election sign distribution law in Iowa

owa law prohibits campaign yard signs on:

* Property owned by the state, county, city, or other political subdivision of the state including the public right of way.
* Property owned by a prohibited contributor under Iowa Code section 68A.503. There is an exception for signs that advocate for or against ballot issues.

On the other hand, lawn sign are allowed on:

* Private property with the owner’s permission.
* Election day at least three hundred feet from the polling place.
* And when election signs are further than three hundred feet of an absentee voting site or satellite absentee voting station during the hours of operation.

One of the most important concepts for political campaigns to understand is the state right of way. Iowa state government explains what the right of way is:

The roadway right of way includes the roadway surface, concrete or grassy median, intersections, entrance and exit ramps, and a strip of land, usually bordering either side of the road, which is reserved for shoulders, drainage ditches, sidewalks, traffic signs/signals, fencing, electrical traffic signal control boxes, utility lines, and future road expansion.

The right-of-way boundary is an invisible line that may not be possible to identify without detailed legal maps and a formal survey. When in doubt about the location of the right-of-way line, contact the transportation agency responsible for the roadway (Iowa Department of Transportation, secondary roads department engineer or city public works director).

If a candidate, staff, volunteers, or supporters do place campaign signs in the right of way or violate any of the other state laws relating to sign distribution, the state will remove them. If the sign posted by the campaign poses an immediate and dangerous hazard, the yard sign will be removed without warning and the campaign will be assessed the costs associated with removing it. If the yard sign isn’t a dangerous hazard, the responsible party will be given 48 hours notice to remove it. If the campaign doesn’t remove the sign, the Department of Transportation will remove it and charge you for the cost.

Highway crews will make reasonable attempts to preserve the lawn signs and will keep the signs for thirty days at the nearest maintenance facility. To recover your campaign yard signs, contact the nearest maintenance manager.