Election season is here again and with that comes campaign signs. Given the number of candidates seeking local offices this year, we likely will be seeing a lot of signs. As a result, city, county and state officials are reminding candidates to be aware of where they can legally place signs and where they can’t. The short answer is no sign can be placed on a street, road or highway right-of-way, or on any public property or utility poles. They may contribute to litter problems or may interfere with motorists’ vision. That just leaves private property, although one sees plenty of violations every election year. In the city limits, if the zoning administrator and code enforcement officer sees a sign on public property, he will remove it. The removed signs may be temporarily kept in his city truck or at the city maintenance shed and candidates may pick them up if they do so within a week or two. Union County does not have a formal ordinance prohibiting campaign signs on county right-of-way but supervisors ask candidates to use common sense and not place the signs on public property. What may be a more effective reminder is that signs on public right-of-way will interfere with mowing and brush trimming and likely will be cut down. If the signs are on metal posts, hitting them with mowers may injure road workers. The width of right-of-way varies from about 25 feet to as much as 300 feet from the centerline of highways. On any road under the jurisdiction of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, any illegally placed signs will be removed. The signs will be kept for two weeks at the local MDOT maintenance facility and then disposed of. At this time, none of the governmental entities have said they will penalize candidates if they want to retrieve their signs.
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