Campaign signs shouldn’t be in right-of-way until Sept. 15 | The Enterprise
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Campaign signs shouldn’t be in right-of-way until Sept. 15

Posted on September 7, 2021

Local news
Properly placed campaign signs line the entrance of the Mount Pleasant early voting site near Bailey ahead of last year's general election. Such signs should only be placed in the right-of-way 30 days prior to the beginning of voting.

Mark Cone | SouthernNashNews.com file photo

Properly placed campaign signs line the entrance of the Mount Pleasant early voting site near Bailey ahead of last year's general election. Such signs should only be placed in the right-of-way 30 days prior to the beginning of voting.

Campaign signs aren’t allowed in the public right-of-way adjoining someone’s home or place of business until 30 days before voting begins, according to state law.

This year one-stop early voting begins Oct. 14 at the Nash County Board of Elections office in Nashville, which will be the only location.

Signs shouldn’t be placed in the public right-of-way until Sept. 15.

The public right-of-way in a municipality is generally understood to be the area from the sidewalk to the street.

Any signs currently displayed in the public right-of-way are in violation of campaign sign laws.

N.C. General Statute 136-32 covers the rules regarding political signage, where they can be placed, when they can be displayed, and penalties for non-compliance.

Section B clearly states that no signs are allowed in the public-right-ways more than 30 days prior to the first day of one-stop early voting and must be removed within 30 days after the conclusion of the election.

N.C. General Statute 136-32 section D covers the placement of political signs. The section reads as follows:

(d) Sign Placement. – The permittee must obtain the permission of any property owner

of a residence, business, or religious institution fronting the right-of-way where a sign would be erected. Signs must be placed in accordance with the following:

(1) No sign shall be permitted in the right-of-way of a fully controlled access highway.

(2) No sign shall be closer than three feet from the edge of the pavement of the road.

(3) No sign shall obscure motorist visibility at an intersection.

(4) No sign shall be higher than 42 inches above the edge of the pavement of the road.

(5) No sign shall be larger than 864 square inches.

(6) No sign shall obscure or replace another sign.

This essentially means that no political candidate has any right whatsoever to put a sign on the public right-of-way that adjoins someone’s property without the resident’s permission.

If someone places a sign on the public right-of-way that fronts a home or business the owner has the right to remove it. It is only a violation to remove the sign if it was lawfully placed, and in this case if the resident or business owner did not give consent, then the sign isn’t lawfully placed.

Section E of the statute covers unlawful sign removal. Under that section if someone removes a lawfully placed a sign then it’s a Class 3 misdemeanor for a person to steal, deface, vandalize or unlawfully remove it.

For example, if you don’t like the candidate whose sign is in your neighbor’s yard it would be a Class 3 misdemeanor to damage or remove it.

Residents can place a sign in their yard earlier or leave it up longer than the 30 day periods as long as the sign isn’t in the public right-of way.

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