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.


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