Are Your Political Signs Within Regulation?
Putting out custom political signs that promote a candidate is a common practice during election season. It is so common that some candidates may not realize when their signs are violating laws and ordinances.
The last thing a political candidate wants to do is to make headlines for breaking city sign regulations. Here are a few common things to watch out for when installing custom political signs and banners.
Proper Distance from Roads and Traffic
One of the biggest concerns for local governments is that political signs will impede safety. If signs are placed too close to the road they could decrease visibility or distract drivers and cause an accident. That is why many cities have strict regulations regarding how close political signs can be located near a road.
Another regulation to abide by are state and local right-of-way restrictions. Common limitations include:
• Positioning signs in the right-of-way passages (many states will not allow that at all).
• Installing signs at intersections.
• Installing signs on or near highway medians.
Most of the time the regulations prohibit the use of signs in these areas, but it may be possible if permission is granted. Always check first so you don’t wind up losing your signage. After all, what good is your message if it does not reach your audience?
Yard Sign Regulations In Neighborhoods
Homeowner’s Associations (HOAs) often have their own rules and regulations regarding yard signs within their neighborhood. Some HOAs prohibit any kind of signage along roads and in public areas while others restrict what people can put in their own front yards. The most stringent HOAs will not allow political signage of any kind. However, some states like Texas have outlawed HOAs from restricting a private property owner’s right to display political signs.
Requiring a Disclaimer
In many areas, the state election bureau will require that all political signs note who authorized and/or paid for the sign. The requirements may even specify where the disclaimer should be located and how prominently it must be displayed. This is definitely something you will want to check before ordering your political signs online.
Limitations on Election Day
Another common restriction is where political signs can be placed around polling places on election day. The idea is to create an leveled playing field by limiting or prohibiting candidates from blanketing the area with signs.
Size and Shape of the Signs
While it isn’t common, there is a possibility that your local government has put restrictions on the size and shape of certain political signs. The restrictions may only apply to certain areas such as along highways.
When Political Signs Can Be Displayed
The last thing a city or HOA wants is political signs that sit out in yards and on roadsides months after the election has passed. To prevent the problem, many cities and HOAs have created guidelines on how soon before and after an election political signs can be displayed.
People that violate the political sign rules could face serious fines. When in doubt, contact the Department of Transportation or the state election bureau to find out what rules apply in your state. These two entities are usually in charge of the statewide regulations. It’s also a good idea to check with your county elections office for specific rules and requirements in your local area.