Don’t post your campaign signs in Alabama before you’ve read these guidelines for political campaigns. Why? The cost is too high. You could face financial and political damages for making the wrong move with your signs. Your political opponent wants to win as badly as you do, and any opening that the other candidate can find, he will take.
The most obvious violations revolve around posting signs along state highway and near polling places, but there are other ways that your campaign can run afoul of Alabama’s regulations.
Alabama Yard Sign Regulations
Alabama’s Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA) has defined what an acceptable “electioneering communication” is:
“Any communication that contains the name or image of a candidate is made within 120 days of an election in which the candidate appears on the ballot, and is put where it is allowed and safe in Alabama. “
Within the timeframe that FCPA dictates for political communications, there are additional rules. Namely, any political advertising, including road signs are prohibited from the rights of way of the state. Campaign signs and stickers can’t be adhered to existing governmental signs or poles nor should your signs imitate Alabama DOT or other roadside signage distributed by the government.
If you’re convicted of violating the FCPA, you’ll be found guilty of a Class C misdemeanor and subject to a fine between fifty or two hundred fifty dollars or up to five days of community. While you are running for office to perform a community service, I’m sure this isn’t what you had in mind!
Here are some other state regulations about posting political signs in Alabama:
– Posting signs along state highways and in the median are against Alabama DOT regulations
– Don’t print a sign that is any larger than thirty-two square feet since they are prohibited.
– Remove your sign soon after the election. The latest that you can legally have your signed posted are seven day from Election Day.
– Campaign signs can’t be posted within thirty feet of any polling place.
It’s important to understand these regulations and also to share them with campaign staff, volunteers and supporters. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure that the people who work for them and place campaign signs are doing so in compliance with these regulations.
Finally, it’s always illegal to take something that isn’t yours, so don’t remove an illegally posted sign and keep a watchful eye to ensure that your political opponents blatantly steal a sign that one of your campaign supporters has posted.
Local Yard Sign Regulations
Local counties, cities and municipalities may have their own regulations regarding the placement of political signs in Alabama. For example, a city may regulate the size, shape and location of yard signs, or even the number of yard signs that a resident that post on their property.
Birmingham, for example, enforces the following regulations:
. Signs posted more than 45 before Election Day are prohibited
. Signs must be removed within 72 hours of an election
. If you have less than 100 feet of frontage, a resident is limited to one signs per candidate or issue. If a resident has more than that, he is limited to two signs per candidates or issue.
Many local towns and cities post information about their sign ordinance online or the entire ordinance itself. Depending upon how the local government presents this information online if it is on their website at all, it may be easier to give municipal office a call to discuss what regulations that you need to adhere to.
There are several important rules you must know and follow if you want your signs to go up and stay up in Alabama. As a voter, you might have noticed many of them: you never see signs near polling places or along the state highway. Maybe you have even picked up on the local sign laws, but now you need to make sure that your entire campaign knows them and follows them to avoid fines or the political repercussions of your political opponents or the news media finding one of your signs in the wrong spot. Finally, disobeying the law during a campaign isn’t a good way to present your candidacy to the voters, so be careful and play it according the rules.