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State law sets rules for roadside campaign signs

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State transportation officials want everyone to remember the rules for election campaign signs, which are popping up along southern Nash County roadsides.

A state law passed in 2011 allows campaign signs to be placed in the state road right of way as early as 30 days before the start of early voting. This year, the one-stop early voting period begins Oct. 15. 

Candidates must follow restrictions regarding the signs, said Steve Abbott, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Transportation.

Whoever places a sign is required to obtain permission from any property owner of a home, business or religious institution fronting the right of way where a sign would be placed.

Signs aren’t permitted in the right of way of a limited-access highway such as an interstate. Signs can’t be closer than 3 feet from the pavement’s edge. 

Signs can’t obscure motorist visibility at intersections. Signs can’t be higher than 42 inches above the edge of the pavement or larger than 864 square inches. Signs can’t be placed in such a way that they obscure other signs.

Residents shouldn’t tamper with political signs even if they believe the signs are improperly placed. 

“The N.C. Department of Transportation has the authority to remove any signs that violate these rules,” Abbott said. “If anyone else removes or vandalizes a sign, they could be subject to a Class 3 misdemeanor citation from law enforcement.”

Apex police charged a woman with criminal vandalism last week. Authorities say she admitted to spray-painting “F Trump” on a campaign sign supporting President Donald Trump.

Campaign signs can remain in place for 10 days after Election Day, which is Nov. 3 this year. Signs still in the right of way after the deadline are in violation of state law. State transportation workers are authorized to remove and dispose of any signs left out after the set date.

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