Nowadays, there are two things you see on every street corner: a Starbucks and political campaign signs. Driving by a clump of signs the other day, I started wondering about why we see this so often, come election time. Let’s find out in today’s edition of Wonder Why Wednesday…
Why Are Campaign Signs Found On Street Corners?
I didn’t find much that answered my question specifically, but there is a lot of information on the laws regarding campaign signs. Without getting too technical (aka, I didn’t really understand), laws very by state for whether or not signs are allowed on both private and public property.
All 50 state allow signs to placed on private property if the property owner gives his/her permission. But this can be trumped (pun intended) by your HOA rules.
When it comes to public property, things get a little more complicated. There is a federal law that states it is illegal to place political signs within 660 feet of the edge of the right-of-way of an Interstate of Federal-Aid Primary system highway. However, signs are allowed within 660 feet of the right-of-way if the area is zoned or officially designated as a commercial or industrial area.
Rules on the size, location, and when the sign can go up vary by state. For example, Florida law states that no signs can be placed within 100 feet of a church, school, or alligator. And Idaho rules permit any signs that are not made out of potatoes.
Okay, so maybe both of those laws are made up. But the rules seem just as arbitrary. And further more, as some news articles have found, illegally placed signs are hard to police and can remain up for long periods of time.
So basically, the answer to why campaign signs are found on street corners is because they are allowed to be, even when it is illegal.