Right-of-Way Electioneering: Who Can Remove Campaign Signs?

Campaign Signs

by: Brittany Crouch

Earlier tonight, we received an inquiry regarding the removal of illegally placed campaign signs on a public right-of-way, and the treatment of the signs after their removal.  It appears that this is generally at the discretion of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

In addition to the well-known rule that any form of campaigning or electioneering cannot take place within 300 feet of a polling place–including verbal support and campaign signs–on public property, there are some restrictions on campaign signs positioned on public right-of-ways.  While the Transportation Cabinet mostly retains discretion on what constitutes misplacement on those right-of-ways, the Cabinet pointed to a number of sources asserting that signs deemed to be illegally placed will be removed by highway crews and taken to the highway garage in the county where they were removed.  The candidate or campaign can fill out a claim form and show identification to retrieve their signs, but this must happen fast.  After five working days, any unclaimed signs will be discarded. 

We could not find any Kentucky rules stipulating whether private individuals may remove campaign signs placed on public rights-of-way.  But, of course, general legal principles, such as property law, would likely apply.