Political Sign Regulations
The Wells Police Department would like to inform all of our citizens of the present statutory and regulatory requirements applicable to placement and removal of roadside posters and signs advertising various political candidacies. Under the provisions of 23 MRSA §1913-A and MDOT Regulations, political posters and signs may be erected and maintained as follows:
- Placement of Signs:
- May be erected on private property outside the Right of Way limits of public ways at any time prior to an election, primary or referendum;
- May be erected within the Right of Way limits of public ways no sooner than 6 weeks prior to an election, primary or referendum and must be removed no later than 1 week following the date of the election, primary or referendum;
- Prohibited practices
- Political posters and signs shall not be erected or maintained on any traffic control signs or devices, public utility poles or fixtures, upon any trees or painted or drawn upon rocks or other natural features;
- No person shall place, maintain or display upon or in view of any highway any unauthorized sign, signal, marking or device which purports to be or is an imitation of or resembles an official traffic control device, such as a stop sign;
- Political signs may be displayed to view to all public ways except for the Interstate Highway System. Title 23 MRSA §1913-A, paragraph 3 (Regulations) and paragraph 6 (Interstate system) states that: Signs may not be placed within the limits of any controlled access highway nor erected within 660 ft. of the nearest edge of the Interstate Highway System in such a manner that the message may be read from the Interstate Highway. All signs located at interstate interchanges are in violation and will be removed.
Traffic safety should be of the utmost consideration in placement of political signs. Candidates and campaign workers should take great care not to place signs or posters where same could create a traffic hazard. For example, signs or posters should not be placed at or near intersections where they could obstruct the view of on-coming traffic to the motorist entering the intersection.
Also, signs or posters should not be erected on or in any manner so as to interfere with the effectiveness of traffic control devices. Acceptable display would be those posters or signs affixed to their own stake or post and set in the ground well outside the traveled portion of the highway, or, with the owner's consent and permission, attached to a building or dwelling, or displayed on vehicles or in the windows of business establishments, and in other like manner.
Unlawful Removal Of Political Signs From Public Roadways
The unauthorized removal or destruction of political signs is a civil violation under Maine law (Title 23, Section 1917-A), and may carry a fine of up to $250. Specifically, the law states that "a person who takes, defaces or disturbs a lawfully placed sign bearing political messages relating to a general election, primary election or referendum commits a civil violation for which a forfeiture of up to $250 may be adjudged."
The law does not apply to a person authorized by a candidate or political committee to remove signs placed by or at the direction of that candidate or political committee. It also does not apply to the landowner, or agent of the landowner, on whose property a sign has been placed.
Any person wishing to file a complaint regarding the theft of political signs occurring in the Town of Wells, should contact the Wells Police Department.