Yard 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.
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.