Charleston, W.Va.— Secretary of State Mac Warner is issuing a statewide reminder that the last day to register to vote in order to participate in the November 6th General Election is fast approaching.
Secretary of State Mac Warner is issuing a friendly reminder to all candidates and political committees regarding the placement of signs on state-owned property.
According to West Virginia State Code, political signs are not permitted on state property which includes rights of way and roadsides.
Those who are convicted of violating this section of Code are guilty of a misdemeanor and can be fined up to $100 per occurrence (per sign). At the same time, Warner admonishes people from removing or destroying campaign signs that are properly displayed. “Taking someone else’s sign or destroying a sign amounts to theft or destruction of property, and can be a criminal offense,” Warner said.
Warner said that his Elections Division has notified all candidates of the prohibition, and guidance is available in candidate guides his office provides to all candidates. Candidates are responsible for the placement of their signs no matter who places the signs for the candidate.
“Inevitably, some candidates or their supporters will place signs on state-owned property despite the law and despite our advice not to do it,” Warner said. “They do so at their own risk and subject themselves to penalties of the law.”
In addition to State Code 17-19-1, the WV Department of Highways issued their own advisory defining what is prohibited as it relates to political signs. That advisory is as follows:
Signs or posters cannot be placed on or above a Division of Highways right of way, which normally stretches 20 feet from the center line of a public road. Distances do vary, however, so please contact the West Virginia Division of Highways if you are uncertain.
Signs or posters near rights of way must comply with the outdoor advertising statute in Chapter 17, Article 19, Section 1 of the West Virginia Code, and must also conform to any municipal ordinances regulating outdoor advertising.
Signs or posters cannot be placed on Division of Highways traffic control signs nor block such signs, and cannot obscure the view of any connecting road or intersection.
Signs or posters cannot be placed on elements in nature, such as rocks or trees.
Avoid placing materials on fence posts, utility poles or other stationary objects on private property without consent of the property owners.
Political overhead banners cannot be erected over any county, state, or federal highway.
Any candidate or political committee with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the WV Secretary of State Elections Division at (304) 558-6000.
To report a problem or violation, contact the WV Secretary of State Investigations Division at 1-877-FRAUD-WV.
For more information on the WV Department of Highways’ Outdoor Advertising Laws, contact the DOH Traffic Engineering Division at (304) 558-3063.
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