New Hampshire Yard Sign Regulations

Map of the regions of New Hampshire.In 2004, the New Hampshire Supreme Court struck down all the regulations in the state connected to political advertising on private property as unconstitutional. There are, however, a number of regulations that remain that campaigns should be aware of. If your campaign plays fast and loose with sign regulations, you may open up the newspaper to a negative letter to the editor, find that your political opponents are using your violations against you, and more. Avoid those problems and more by understanding New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation and State campaign sign regulations.

New Hampshire Yard Sign Regulations

When it comes to placing political campaign signs in New Hampshire, the most important thing to remember is that no campaign sign is allowed to be placed on, or affixed to any public property including highways or private property without the owner’s consent. Signs may be put along the right of way, but only if they are not obstructing drivers’ view or causing any traffic hazard. Generally, campaign signs in New Hampshire may not be posted any earlier than the last Friday in July before the general election.

Knowing this regulation, you may might be tempted to fix signs that aren’t adhering to New Hampshire’s regulations, but it is equally unlawful for anyone, other than a private property owner or police officer, to remove, deface, or knowingly destroy any political advertising on a private property. Even still, a police officer may only remove improper political advertising after notifying the candidate that the sign was posted illegally and allow 24 hours for removal.

Again, here are the issues that may occur with your signs that a police officer can request removal for:

  • If your sign is on public property – state, city or town maintenance or law enforcement personnel may remove it
  • If your sign is on private property – the property owner or those authorized by the property owner may remove it
  • And in case of improper Political Advertising such as failure to meet disclosure requirements – law enforcement personnel may remove your campaign sign.

You can make complaints concerning alleged violations of election laws prior to, during, and after an election by calling the Attorney General Civil Bureau at (603) 271-3650 or the Elections Hotline at 1-866-868-3703. In addition, complaint forms and other information about filing a complaint can be obtained on the Department of Justice’s website.

Local Yard Sign Regulations

Local laws and regulations in New Hampshire may be slightly different because right-of-way boundaries can vary
by highway and location. Local governments may also apply additional restrictions on the size and shape of campaign yard signs or the period political candidates can place their signs on private property or public land in the locality.

If you are not sure about local laws in your county, it is better to contact someone who can help you. Try contacting New Hampshire municipal association, or better yet, the individual municipality in question.

Also, check the New Hampshire Department of Transportation for more information about when and where you may place your sign.


New Hampshire is clear on their campaign sign laws: no political advertising at any public property including highway rights-of-way or private property without the owner’s consent. While there are opportunities to make it right, breaking the law could mean that your sign will be thrown out costing your campaign money and at the very least taking your time to deal with the issue.

The smartest move in political campaign game is to play it according the rules and think about your voters who might miss your message if your sign gets removed. You should also think about the troubles media and opponents would cause you if they found out you are breaking the law.
So let’s recap where you can’t post a campaign sign in New Hampshire:

  • Public property – no political signs may be placed or affixed to any public property including highway rights-of-way
  • Private property without permission – you need to obtain the owner’s consent
  • Utility poles/highway signs – no campaign signs are allowed

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.

New Mexico Yard Sign Regulations

Welcome to New Mexico sign.New Mexico has strict rules about where, when and for how long you may place your campaign signs during a political campaign. The New Mexico Department of Transportation is concerned about distracting drivers and impeding NMDOT traffic devices and signals. To make a long story short about where you can post signs, New Mexico prohibits posting signs along the state’s right of way.

In addition to the state’s rules, counties and other local governments may have their own restrictions and permitting processes.

Don’t be fooled. These regulations may seem trivial, but the political implications can be a factor in your race. It’s one thing to have a few signs removed and to need to recover them. It’s another issue when your political opponent or a member of the media notices these violations. You don’t have to take my word for it. Search online for yard sign theft or other yard signs violations, and you’ll see a never ending list of articles if you’re in the heat of campaign season.

New Mexico Yard Sign Regulations

In New Mexico, no classes of signs are allowed outdoor, except for signs, displays and devices located within 660 feet of the nearest edge of the right of way, which are zoned as industrial or commercial under authority of law. Suffice it to say, that’s not you! You can’t post signs in the state’s right of way.

You already know how strict New Mexico is about sign placement. The following quote from Outdoor Advertising Requirements in New Mexico proves the point:

“It is prohibited to place signs which physically intrude upon the right of way or by being of such a distracting nature so it diverts driver’s attention from the roadway. Also, signs that attempt or appear to attempt to direct the movement of traffic or imitate any official signs, signals or device are prohibited. Your campaign sign may not contain commands such as: “stop, slow, turn left or right, straight ahead.”

If your campaign does post campaign signs in the state’s right of way, they will be removed by NMDOT staff and stored at district headquarter or at local patrol yards. New Mexico has six district headquarters where campaigns can pick up the signs during normal business hours. Contact information for those offices is available here.

Finally, no campaign sign or other outdoor advertising device whatsoever is allowed to place signs in the state without a permit from the State Maintenance Bureau of the Department for placement along state roads. To apply for a permit for political signs, you’ll need to fill out the application form and make a nonrefundable $100 fee. Sign permits will be valid from the date of their issuance until the following January 1. Every permit must be renewed each year and accompanied by a $25 renewal fee. Permanent metal tags will be issued with fees collected annually in advance.

Local Yard Sign Regulations

Generally, you are now more familiar with regulations in New Mexico regarding placing campaign signs. However, you should consult local town or county regulations because some counties regulate the duration placement of election signs, and elements of the sign itself including its size.

The Department of Transportation in New Mexico will not issue permits for placing new signs in areas where counties and municipal zoning ordinances are in effect and which require a permit to be issued for such signs by the county or municipal authority.

County permits are often free and aren’t terribly difficult to obtain. Contact your county for a permit application. Some of them, like Los Alamos county, have the application available online. Hee is an eample for Los Alomos.


As you can see, it is not hard to follow the rules in New Mexico, you will probably spend the most time reading them since they are very detailed. It is clear as it can be; if you follow the regulations, your signs will stay. But if you don’t, you will lose your sign, your permit and your opponent will most probably use that as a chance to win a few arguments and maybe the election.

Maine Yard Sign Regulations

Maine-flagIf you are running a political campaign in Maine, it doesn’t mean you should also run the risk of losing thousands of dollars and having your campaign signs removed. What is the best way to avoid this? Inform yourself about the Maine rules and laws on where exactly you can put your sign and how it should appear.

It’s not just the money you can lose. Your reputation is on the line as you place your name by the road. The media and your opponents can harm your campaign in more ways than a several thousand dollar fine, but the fine hurts too!

Finally, if you don’t follow Maine’s rules, how can you make the voters believe you? There is no reason to risk it all since Maine lawn sign laws fully explain which types of signs are acceptable and which are not.

Maine Yard Sign Regulations

There are five main rules regarding posting yard signs in Maine. According to Maine Department of Transportation, you should keep them in mind as you plan your political campaign:

1. You can place campaign signs on private property outside of Maine’s right of way on public roads any time before Election Day. In short, lawn signs can be placed on anyone’s lawn, at any time.

2. When it comes to public road ways, there are certain limits. You can put yard signs six weeks before an election within the Right of Way limits and you must remove them within a week after the election.

interstate_95_maine_map3. You should not put signs on traffic control sign polls, public utility poles or on trees. It is also forbidden to put political signs or posters on rocks, guide posts, roadside guard rails or cables.

4. Your campaign signs should not imitate traffic signs.

5. Lawn signs are forbidden on the Interstate. Also, it is unlawful to place signs within 660 feet of the Interstate that are visible to the drivers. If you place a sign there, Maine’s Department of Transportation will remove the signs.

What happens if a steal a yard sign? The state of Maine can issue a fine up to $250 for an offense like this. But more important, you have to make sure that other people who are connected to your campaign are not stealing or violating the opponent’s political signs because that can cost your campaign thousands of dollars and awful press.

According to MDOT and state law, a political sign may not be larger than 50 square feet. Also, it must not obstruct views of traffic or traffic signs.

As you have already read, you may place a sign on a private lawn, so long as it does not block pedestrians or drivers. According to Maine Department of Transportation, you must not place a political sign that drivers can see from the Interstate, and if your home borders an interstate highway, you must place your sign so that only local traffic can see it.

Local Yard Sign Regulations

Why is it important to inform yourself on the local yard sign regulations?

Maine allows municipal governments to enact ordinances that are stricter than the state laws. This means that there is a patchwork of local sign ordinances’ that campaigns must follow. Otherwise, you may face financial penalties like state violations, have your signs destroyed, or at least cause another problem in an already difficult campaign.

Some of the most common local ordinances impact when campaigns can place yard signs on private property, when they can place yard signs on the public Right of Way
and the size and shape of political lawn signs.


There is only one thing left to say in conclusion to all the rules and laws you need to follow if you run an election in Maine: candidates who follow the state’s rules are at an advantage over their opponents who do not. You should be careful to follow lawn sign laws and you should know them well, because when your opponent is violation the law, it is your opportunity to demonstrate that your opponent shouldn’t be trusted.

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.

Illinois Yard Sign Regulations

illinois-flagFollowing campaign regulations is first and foremost a matter of ethics, but in additional to doing the right thing there are a political implications to understanding Illinois’ sign regulations and local sign ordinances. Illinois DOT disposes of road signs that are illegally distributed along the highway median, for example, and your campaign dollars invested in them along with it.

But it’s better that the DOT find your signs illegally placed than your opponent who could turn it into a campaign issue. Why should the voters trust you to be a part of government when you can’t follow the simplest laws of the land? Of course, you can turn this around and point out your opponents violations to the media.

Illinois Yard Sign Regulations

Most candidates learn the regulations about where you and can and cannot post signs on the state’s right of way quickly:

“Most candidates are aware of our policy. We don’t have trouble with too many people. Candidates usually know where to put their signs,” said Operations Engineer Keith Miley of the Illinois Department of Transportation office in Carbondale.

IDOT_logo_smThat said, if you are new to politics or need to make confirm that your opponent is following the letter of the law, for example, knowing the state’s rules can help. Also, when a campaign does violate Illinois Department of State, DOT staff will remove of your signs and dispose of them.
That could mean a significant loss to your campaign financially and in terms of time investment in purchasing and posting the signs.

On Election Day, the state’s regulations are equally clear. While the polls are open, no one can place political sign or fliers within 100 feet of a polling place. This protects the polling place as a neutral area, where people can vote their mind without worrying about political pressure from a political campaign. Unlike many other states, this rule extends to voters showing up to vote wearing clothing or other political paraphernalia like buttons or stickers that advocate for or opposes a given candidate or proposition.

Local Yard Sign Regulations

As you may already know, many cities and villages in Illinois only allowed homeowners to display political yard signs within a few weeks of an election day.  If you displayed your sign too early or left a sign in your yard for too long following an election, you would have been breaking the law.  Governor Pat Quinn, however, signed a law in 2011 barring municipalities from regulating when political signs can be displayed on residential property.

According to the Quinn administration, the new law, would bring Illinois into compliance with a 1994 U.S. Supreme Court ruling indicating that political signs are protected “free speech” under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.  Under the new law, municipalities can still regulate the size and number of political signs, as long as any such restrictions are “content neutral” and “reasonable.”

Let’s take the city of Galena for an example.

The city of Galena in northwestern Illinois allowed properties to put in place one political sign beginning 60 days before and up to seven day after an election. Galena Zoning Administrator Nate Kieffer said the new ordinance was created because property owners and candidates wanted a standardized timeline to begin putting up the signs. “It’s so funny, it’s one of the only situations where somebody wants a rule on something. They just want to have something… that levels the playing field for everyone” said Kieffer.

Since 2011, local governments like Galena can no longer make or enforce such regulations limiting the time that private citizens can post yard signs advertising political campaigns.

The statewide law also makes it much simpler for candidates who are seeking office that crosses local government boundaries. State Senator Pamela Althoff, who cosponsored the legislation, said homeowners did not know when they could put signs up because of all the different local ordinances. This is a benefit to campaigns as well who can start putting signs in the hands of voters as soon as the campaign orders them.


Illinois’ campaign yard sign regulations are clear and even easier to follow at the local level since 2011 when the state prohibited cities and towns from limiting the amount of time that a private citizen could display a sign. Also keep in mind that according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, campaign signs are only allowed on the back slopes behind ditches along state roads. Signs are also prohibited in the median. In addition, the state of Illinois legally protects the polling place as an electioneering free zone on the Election Day.

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.

Kentucky Yard Sign Regulations

Kentucky State FlagWhy should you follow the campaign sign regulations in Kentucky? Firstly, the risk is too great financially and politically. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet removes all illegally placed signage on the state highway and in the Commonwealth’s right of way more generally. For safety’s sake, to avoid losing your signs and all of the money and time involved with them, and to prevent the political fallout from negative press or attacks for your opponent for violating the law, follow Kentucky’s yard sign rules.

These problems do impact campaigns. Take, for example, the independent expenditures from “Retire Mitch” campaign run by FreedomWorks in 2014.  FreedomWorks is spent a half million dollars on this campaign, and some of it was lost by yard signs that were removed by Louisville city workers because they were illegally posted in the local right of way and someone notified city government about the offending signs. This is a practical example of yard sign politics and loss of campaign resources in action.

Kentucky Yard Sign Regulations

Kentucky Transportation CabinetState law in Kentucky and the Transportation Cabinet prohibit the placement of political campaign signs on Commonwealth’s right of way. Campaign signs and other illegally placed temporary advertising signs will be removed, including signs attached to utility poles or fences within the area.

There is a reason for this. Political signs can be a threat to the safety of drivers. The wires used to support the signs can create hazards for the public if they are accidentally hit. Also, temporary advertising signs near intersections and driveways in Kentucky are forbidden for this reason. All signs should be posted behind sidewalks and beyond the ditch line in areas without sidewalks. Campaign signs should also be outside the areas commonly mowed by highway crews.

Further, on four-lane highways with controlled access or limited access in Kentucky, it is forbidden to place signs along the side of the highway or on the fence itself.

Meeks and Caswell signsThese illegally placed election signs picked up by highway crews are moved to the state highway garage in each county. Candidates or campaign representatives may reclaim them by completing a claim form and showing their identification. Unclaimed signs, on the other hand, are discarded after five working days.

In short, in Kentucky you may not place a sign in the public right-of-way.  You also need a sign permit.

When are you required to obtain a permit? A sign permit is required before the installation, relocation, expansion, construction or structural alteration of any sign. You’ll also need to pay a $10 permit fee. Political signs are limited to 8 square feet and one sign per candidate, per lot with the bottom of the sign no higher than 2 feet from ground level.

Which signs are prohibited? In Kentucky, some signs are prohibited during the election. This is a list of those signs:

  • Flashing or blinking
  • Mobile signs
  • Moving, rotating or flapping signs
  • Signs lettered in a crude or amateurish fashion
  • Inflatable signs and tethered balloons
  • Vehicles or trailers (operable or inoperable), which contain advertising and are not used in the daily conduct of business
  • Off-premises signage

According to the Kentucky Secretary of State website, electioneering is prohibited within 300 feet of any polling place on Election Day including posting signs within the space surrounding the polling place.  Kentucky law, however, does permit voters to show up to the polls with a bumper sticker in support of a candidate on your car.

Local Yard Sign Regulations

Enforcement of the sign prohibition and laws regarding sign placement in Kentucky can be slightly different because right-of-way boundaries can vary by highway and location.

Local governments may apply additional restrictions on size and shape of campaign yard signs, but also on the period political candidates can place their signs on their lawn to name a couple of possible local sign ordinance restrictions.


If you place your sign on the state’s right of way or at times, places, or a manner that is against the state code, Kentucky Transportation Crews will remove them. If the Commonwealth removes your signs, what was the point? Your voters won’t see the signs, you won’t get the benefit of increase candidate name recognition, and you risk financial and political losses. If your campaign wants to realize the political advantages of campaign signs, you’ll need to adhere to the state and local laws that affect them. Do the right thing by your state and your candidacy, follow your sign regulations.

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.

Alabama Yard Sign Regulations

Alabama-flagDon’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:

Seal-ADOT– Signs may not be placed earlier than thirty days before the election date

– 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.

Tennessee Yard Sign Regulations

tennessee-flagTennessee has a few regulations related to yard signs that campaigns should follow to the stay on the right side of the law and to avoid any potential political attacks from the other candidate or the news media.

Like many other states, it’s unlawful to place signs in the state’s right of way or along the median of the road. Campaigns should also avoid posting road signs on utility poles or on signage, such as traffic signals, that are along the side of the road.

Tennessee Yard Sign Regulations

In general, Tennessee’s yard sign are easy to follow and similar to many other states.

Political campaigns can begin posting yard sign yard 90 days out from Election Day. On the other end of campaign season, state law requires that all election signs on public property, like roadsides, to be removed within three weeks following an election as opposed to lawn signs on private property, which can remain there at the discretion of the property owner except in instances where the local government, homeowners, or condo association has additional restrictions.

Backing up a few weeks from when campaigns must remove signs, there are also restrictions on where campaigns can post election signs on Election Day. According to the Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-7-111, there is 100 foot “campaign free” buffer zone in which displaying of any campaign materials including signs is prohibited. Campaign yard signs are also forbidden in on or in polling place locations. There is an exception for private property, so if you can identify a campaign supporter who is within the campaign free zone, ask them to post a sign on their property to get some really good visibility at a poll on Election Day.

Local Yard Sign Regulations

Municipal government can impose additional restrictions beyond that of state of Tennessee. Rutherford County, for example, treats political signs like any other temporary sign in their ordinance with the following restrictions:

  • Signs must be removed within 48 hours of the election
  • If a resident owns less than a five acre lot, the person is limited to 32 total square feet of signage, which may be divided up into a maximum of five signs. Lots over five acres have the same total square foot limit, which may be one or multiple signs.
  • Political signs are limited to 6 feet in height
  • Illuminating temporary signs is illegal
  • Campaign signs are not allowed in the right of way

The severity and the complexity of local signs ordinances varies dramatically in Tennessee. You may live in a town that doesn’t have one at all while the next town over has a number of regulations to keep in mind.


Tennessee state yard sign regulations are simple to follow. Be careful not only to understand the laws centering on lawn signs yourself, but also to share it with campaign staff, volunteers, and all supporters. Whether or not the candidate is personally responsible or not for running afoul of sign regulations, he will be blamed for any indiscretions.

There are many campaigns that have been sunk by campaign theft and other violations. You don’t have to take my word for it, Google it! The point being is that something seemingly small can become a campaign issue if your opponent presses it. The news media is quick to latch onto any story especially in small towns, but also because there is something about a political candidate who wants to be a part of government violating the rules that government has made that resonates with the media and with voters.

Do the right thing ethically and politically: follow Tennessee’s sign laws.

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.

South Carolina Yard Sign Regulations

SouthCarolina-flagPlanning a political campaign should not be complicated. If you follow a few simple sign regulations and the rest of South Carolina’s campaign laws, you’ll stay focused on your campaign strategy not paying fines or dealing with political fallout. South Carolina has clear rules on what is allowed and what isn’t with before, during and after the campaign. For example, you may not put your sign closer than 500 feet from the highway.

Also, remember that your sign is your responsibility. You need to remove your campaign yard signs within 48 hours of the election or the South Carolina Department of Transportation will remove it.  Then, if you want it back, you will have to pay $1 for each square foot of the sign. If you don’t claim the sign, it will be discarded or even sold. Local laws may be a bit different from the state laws.

Aside from the ethical responsibility that you have to follow the law, as a candidate, you face political risks as well. Your political opponents and the media are always looking for something to discredit you. Don’t put it past them that they would pursue yard sign theft or other violations if they had the chance!

South Carolina Yard Sign Regulations

In South Carolina, it is illegal to place that obstructs the view of drivers to keep roadways safe. For the same reason, your sign should not hang on a tree or on rocks because it is unsafe for motorists.

Of course, it is illegal to vandalize or steal signs, but it still happens all of the time in South Carolina. If you don’t believe me, Google it! Violating a campaign sign is a misdemeanor and you could be fined up to $100, go to jail for 30 days, or both. It’s pretty hard to campaign from the klink!

You are not allowed to place campaign sign within five hundred feet from the nearest main traveled way. In rural places it is illegal to put up a sign within five hundred feet of an interchange or a rest area. Also, in rural places you are not allowed to place a sign within three hundred feet from on the same side of the highway. In municipalities, on the other hand, don’t post a sign less than one hundred feet apart on the same side of the highway.

Campaign signs may not exceed the maximum size of 672 square feet. You can use cutouts and other sign extension, but they will count towards your total square feet. That said, 672 is a pretty significant sign. Any sign that you would put on personal property won’t even come close.

SCDOTDon’t forget to remove your sign within 48 hours after the elections. If you don’t do this, Department of Transportation will remove your sign and you will have to pay $1 for each square foot of the sign. If nobody comes to pick the campaign within ten days after the removal, it will be thrown away or sold.

Local Yard Sign Regulations

In South Carolina, there are state, county and municipal ordinances you need to follow in order to lawfully place a campaign sign. These ordinances usually involve regulations that apply to size and shape of your sign. There may also be some additional laws on how long you can keep your sign on public or private property. Contact your local municipal government or police department for more information on local ordinances.

Some localities have their ordinance or an overview of it online. Pickens County Registration and Elections Commission, for example, outlines their local rules here. The Municipal Association of South Carolina has an online directory that’s useful to find contact information for the municipal and county governments in the state.


Campaign signs are an important part of many political campaigns since they build candidate name recognition. It is important that people can see your name and the office that you are running for if you need to build name ID, but if you don’t follow the state and local laws, SCDOT will remove you signs before anyone gets a chance!

Remember that you cannot place a sign less than 500 feet from the nearest highway in urban and rural places. In municipalities it is not allowed to put up signs less than 100 feet on the same side of the highway. You need to remove your sign 48 hours after the elections or it will be removed. Signs will also be removed if it obstructs the view of the drivers driving by.

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.

Delaware Yard Sign Regulations

Delaware flagLike any other organization, political campaigns need to market themselves to the people who will buy their product: voters. One way that candidates can market themselves to voters is with yard signs. However, there are certain parts of Delaware where it’s unlawful to post political signs, mostly because of safety reasons. If you play it smart and follow the instructions about where and under what circumstances you may place a sign in Delaware, voters will see your signs every day. If you don’t follow the rules, well, the Department of Transportation in Delaware will remove it and you will pay a fine. Also, you will also pay even more money to get your sign back.

Delaware Yard Sign Regulations

The Delaware Department of Transportation is enforcing laws designed to keep the state’s rights of way clear from illegal and dangerous signs. The places where signs are forbidden in Delaware are called the Clear Zone, and if you place a sign there, it will be removed by DelDOT staff.  Exemptions are signs posted during a period of 30 days before and 30 days after an election, in a district in which an election is held.

Not only will your sign be removed from the Clear Zone if it is not posted within the boundaries of your district and within the regulated timeframe, sign owners must pay a fine of $25 per sign in violation and a recovery fee of $15 per sign to get your signs back. Confiscated signs are disposed after 30 days, and the fines still apply.

Signs on private property, on the other hand, are a different matter from a legal perspective. For obvious reasons, DelDOT recommends that you get the property owner’s permission to post your sign on their property. Signs on private property do not have the time or location restrictions that signs do in the Clear Zone. Supporters can post signs in their yards more than 30 days in advance of the election and if there is a highly visible spot just outside the district, you can post it there just the same so long as it’s on private property.

On Election Day, your campaign will want to post signs at polling places to increase your campaigns visibility in addition to canvassers, phone bankers, and volunteers at the polls. The Delaware Department of Transportation recommends that you get permission to those your signs at the polling place beforehand. Also, be sure to make arrangements for someone associated with the campaign to recover signs from polling places soon after the election to reduce clutter but also save for the next campaign. Otherwise, you may find that someone else has taken care of the signs for you!

In addition, your campaign yard signs should not obscure signs that tell the name of the building where they are posted, they should not obscure signs that direct traffic or any signs put up by an Election Official that mark parking places or direct voters to polling place entrances.

Delaware is one of the few states that explicitly protects the rights of homeowners and condominium owners to display signs. In 2007 the state Legislature amended existing legislation to protect property owners’ right to fly flags and display political signs. The revised statute (25 Delaware Code Sec. 81-320) says that condominium residents or homeowners cannot be prohibited from displaying a U.S. flag up to 3 feet by 5 feet, and that any rule regarding the flag’s display must be consistent with federal law. Unless addressed in the original property declaration, no rule may ban political signs for candidates or ballot questions, but a homeowner’s association can restrict the time, place, size, number, or manner or the displays.

Local Yard Sign Regulations

Municipalities, homeowners associations, condo association, etc. may have laws, ordinances, rules, regulations, covenants or deed restrictions that cover political signs during campaigns. For example, an entity may limit signs to four weeks before Election Day, Election Day and the day after Election Day. In New Castle County for example, there are restrictions regarding the maximum size of the sign. In City of Wilmington the placement of signage is prohibited anywhere within the public right of way.  This includes streets, sidewalks, traffic medians and on any otherwise within the right of way. The Departments of Licenses and Inspections and Public Works has the authority to simply remove the offending signs and dispose of them in Wilmington. Be sure to check with the local governments in your district to ensure that you are following all relevant sign ordinances.


Following yard sign regulations may sound like a minor issue, if you don’t follow the rules, candidates and campaigns can be fined and signs may be removed and destroyed. In summary, always ask owners before putting campaign signs on their property. Remember that candidates do not have a right to put signs on private property without the owner’s permission. Don’t forget to remove signs promptly after an election. At polling places, remove signs after the polls close on Election Night and clean up trash.

Rhode Island Yard Sign Regulations

Rhode-Island-FlagCompared to other states, Rhode Island has somewhat stricter rules and regulations on when, where and under what circumstances you may place your campaign sign.  For instance, you may not place a sign at least 25 feet from the nearest edge of right-of-way. But no signs are allowed at historical and religious places. These are just a couple of the rules that you must keep in mind during the campaign.

There are political consequences for playing fast and loose with campaign sign rules. You’d be subject to criticism from the local media and your political opponent for one.

Rhode Island Yard Sign Regulations

Rhode Island sign ordinances commonly do not allow off-site or off premises sign. Rhode Island Outdoor Advertising Act prohibits placing campaign signs that are visible from interstate highways, so not to obstruct or physically interfere with a drivers’ view.  For the same reason, your campaign signs should not resemble official traffic signs or signals because they might cause traffic hazards. Also for safety reasons you are not allowed to place your sign upon a tree or any other natural feature that is structurally unsafe.

In Rhode Island there are zones where you can put your sign. Campaign signs must be located in a zoned commercial or industrial area. More important, your signs must stay 25 feet away from the nearest right-of-way.

When planning a campaign in Rhode Island, it is forbidden to place campaign signs at natural of manmade scenic places. Places of historical significance, designated scenic roadways and bicycle paths are also off limits for political signs. If you make a mistake and put your sign here, it will be removed by Rhode Island Department of Transportation.

Political Sign Size Limit

The maximum area for campaigns signs that are located 150 feet or more from the nearest edge of the right-of-way is 1,200 square feet. The maximum allowed length of the sign is 60 feet and maximum height is 25 feet. Don’t forget that these dimensions include the border, trim, cutouts and other extensions.

Rhode Island Sign Permits

Lawfully placed signs require permits. If you want to obtain a permit, you need to provide a proof of legal control of the real property and sign. Department of Transportation takes care of the process to obtain the permit.

Displacing, removing, injuring or destroying campaign signs is not allowed. Penalty for this is up to 10 days in jail and a fine of $100 to $500, plus additional expenses and costs.

Local Yard Sign Regulations

Municipal rules on posting campaign signs may differ when it comes to size, shape and location of the sign. It is highly recommended to check local ordinances before you decide to put up a sign. These local ordinances may include some restrictions on how long you may keep a sign or if you need a permit. For example, in town of Scituate, the zoning inspector must certify any sign before you place it or just decide to change its size, or even move it to another place.  And in some villages you need to submit the signs to the village overlay district review committee before you can place your sign.


It may seem like there are many rules to be followed before you can place your sign, but it is definitely better to check something twice than to face the political and legal consequences afterwards. These consequences are of course your sign being taken away and the risk of your opponent taking the advantage of such situation. So, to avoid this, do not post your signs at least 25 feet from the nearest edge of right-of-way. Don’t post it on trees or rocks or anywhere where it can fall down a cause a hazard. Speaking of hazards, you are not allowed to place your sign on places where it obstructs the view of the drivers. This can be very serious and dangerous. If you make such mistake, Rhode Island Department of Transportation will have to remove your sign and you will be remembered as someone who doesn’t care about the safety of the voters.

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.