Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What is the law on political yard signs?

This conversation comes up every election season. How early can you put up political signs before an election? The old-timers will tell you with great certainty that the time limit is 30 days - but good luck getting them to cite you any law or rule on that. A lot of Ohio cities and villages have sign restrictions on the books, many which are for 30 days. Versailles has a 30-day limit, for example (go look it up on the village's website if you want).

This issue was specifically addressed in the 2000 Ohio Supreme Court case of Painesville vs. Dworken. Unfortunately, the Ohio Supreme Court did not give a specific time limit for political signs - but it cited with approval other cases which struck down 30-day and 45-day limits. The best hint from the Court comes from this passage:

Section 1135.02(d) sets durational limits which do not correspond to the traditional general election season, often deemed as starting on Labor Day and continuing to election day in early November—a period of approximately eight to nine weeks.

So without more direction, the controlling precedent in Ohio pretty clearly seems to disfavor 30-day limits ... but does favor the idea of "election season" beginning on Labor Day. My sign is up. The rest of you will have to decide for yourselves.


  1. I just read that signs have to be 30 foot from the center line of the road, if not the Highway Department has the right to take them down.

  2. Having put up yard signs for candidates in the past, here is the one rule I remember best: "Make sure you get 'em in the ground the best you can!"

    That's pretty much all you need to know.

  3. here is my sign Vote For Dave Niley

  4. Thanks for the clarification. Many people feel this is a First Amendment issue.

  5. Yes, thanks for the clarification. The law as stated is very reasonable, as opposed to it's local interpretations and selective enforcement in past years.

  6. Campaign signs are an important part of running for office. There is a good amount of thought and time put into these and they let the candidate put their name out there so people know that there are options in who they vote for. Right?


Featured Posts

/* Track outbound links in Google Analytics */