A state law allows political campaign signs to be placed in the right of way of state roads as early as 30 days before the start of early voting. So, signs can legally be placed on Sept. 15th (Tuesday) for the November 3rd General Election (early voting, also known as One-Stop Voting, begins Oct. 15th).
Restrictions regarding the signs, include:
- Whoever places the signs is required to get permission from any residential, business or religious institution property owner fronting the right of way where a sign would be placed [so if you're a Trump supporter and someone places a Biden sign on the road in front of your house, it's illegal--and vice-versa].
- No signs are permitted in the rights of way of highways with limited access such as an interstate [that restriction includes bypass NC16 and US321 in Lincoln County].
- No sign can be closer than 3 feet from the edge of the pavement;
- No sign can obscure motorist visibility at an intersection.
- No sign shall be higher than 42 inches above the edge of the pavement of the road.
- No sign shall be larger than 864 square inches.
- No sign shall obscure or replace another sign.
NCDOT has the authority to remove any signs that violate the rules.
Yard signs, placed in your yard or that of your business and not on the state right-of-way are not subject to these restrictions. Some such signs may, however, be subject to restrictions on outdoor advertising (billboards). Removing political signs that are legally placed is a Class 3 misdemeanor; the same applies to defacing or vandalizing a political sign [so, no, you cannot paint a mustache on your opponents' campaign signs].
Sheriff Bill Beam said last week, the Sheriff’s Office has already received a number of complaints about stolen political signs. The complaints have come from both Democrats and Republicans and mostly involve Presidential campaign signs.
The Sheriff said many of these signs are being observed by cameras including home security and business security systems. The Sheriff said anyone found in violation of N C GS 136-32 will be charged.