Political Campaign Signs Often Illegal


UPDATED: Friday October 15, 2010 5:13 PM

Chances are you have seen political campaign signs on almost every street corner, but road crews said they are not supposed to be there.

City and state officials said it is a growing problem around election time, 10TV's Joanna Freeman reported on Thursday.
 
Signs in the right-of-way, at street corners and freeway entrance and exit ramps are popping up everywhere and road crews are scrambling to keep up.

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"The first thing you worry about with political signs, from the government standpoint, is that it's a matter of free speech," said Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. "So some municipalities, cites, villages have ordinances on how soon a political sign can go out."

Where they are placed is often a bigger issue for drivers.

Worthington officials said they will move any sign that is placed closer than 10 feet to the public right-of-way and that all signs must be moved one week after the election, Freeman reported.

"We require that the signs not be in the public right away so typically that's the area between the sidewalk and the street, they have to be on some body's private property or in their yard," said Worthington spokeswoman Anne Brown.

A similar law applies to Ohio's freeways.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is responsible for the state's U.S. routes, state routes and interstates which are outside of municipalities.

ODOT said signs are not allowed to be placed in the highway right-of-way and will be removed by crews if they see a violation.

"Putting signs in those locations can work or it can backfire for people because there are some citizens who look at those signs as a complete nuisance, and they get irritated when they see them," Brunner said.

Campaign supporters should check their local code enforcement regulations for sign placement and clean up all political signs after the Nov. 2 election.

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