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Campaign signs on roadway likely breaking the law 

Filing for county elections doesn’t even open until December, yet roadsides across Macon County are already dawning campaign signs for upcoming elections. 

According to Macon County Board of elections Director Melanie Thibault, campaign signs currently located anywhere outside of private property are in violation of the state’s law regarding the signs and can be disposed of by North Carolina Department of Public Transportation. 

“The DOT as of right now, has the right to remove any sign that is not located on private property,” said Thibault. “Signs are not permitted to be put out until 30 days before one stop begins for the Primary election, which will not be held until March 2022.”

North Carolina General Statute 136-32 regulates campaign signage and was signed into law in 2011. In addition to when the signs can be placed — the law regulates what types of signs can be displayed. 

There are restrictions regarding the signs. They include:

Whoever places a sign is required to get the permission of any property owner of a residence, business or religious institution fronting the right of way where a sign would be placed;

No sign is permitted in the right of way of a limited-access highway such as an interstate;

No sign can be closer than 3 feet from the edge of the pavement of the road;

No sign can obscure motorist visibility at an intersection;

No sign can be higher than 42 inches above the edge of the pavement;

No sign can be larger than 864 square inches; and

No sign can obscure or replace another sign.

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

Campaign signs can remain in place for 10 days after the Nov. 3 election. Signs still in the right of way after the deadline are in violation of state law, and the NCDOT is authorized to remove and dispose of them.

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