Rules for cleaning up campaign signs

Published 4:29 pm Friday, June 6, 2014

After the Primary Election concluded on Tuesday, many candidates started the process of picking up the election pieces, including campaign signs.

Although the county and most municipalities in Chilton County do not have ordinances stating the amount of time a candidate has to remove the signs, rules still exist for areas controlled by the state of Alabama with signs in public rights-of-way (a strip of land which is a public road).

According to Alabama Code 23-1-6, signs, markers and advertising on the rights-of-way of state controlled highways are prohibited except those officials’ signs or markers placed thereon by the State Department of Transportation or under its authority.”

Politicians along with their supporters started covering Chilton County with signs leading up to the June 3 Primary Election, but many have been removed since Tuesday.

“We had a lot of them in front of the courthouse on Tuesday,” Chilton County Administrator Connie Powell said. “By Wednesday morning, a lot of the signs were removed.”

The city of Clanton requires political signs be removed within 48 hours after the election to the individuals who have “posted or erected them.”

Signs are not allowed on rights-of-way, trees, utility poles, fences, streetlights or any public property in the city of Clanton.

The signs can be placed on private property with permission of the property owner but the signs should not interfere with traffic visibility from an entrance or exit from the lot and adjacent lots and the visibility of traffic flow through nearby intersections.

“If the signs are not taken down within 48 hours, the city of Clanton takes them down and the candidates can come pick up the signs where we store them in the basement of Clanton City Hall,” Clanton City Clerk Debbie Orange said. “We already have a whole basement full of them.”

Orange said candidates involved in the runoff election on July 15 or candidates appearing on the ballot Nov. 4 were allowed to leave the political signs in place.

Signs placed on county property do not have a time limit for when they are removed, but Powell said many times signs are taken down if they in the way of work being done by the Chilton County Road Department.

“Anything that we collect is usually because it is in the way of a project being done by the road department,” Powell said. “If they do pick up a sign they will take it back and store it at the road department, and if they are on property owned by the state they will be taken down.”

With many of the candidates in Chilton County appearing on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot, some campaign signs will more than likely stay in place for the next seven months.

Jemison Police Chief Shane Fulmer said he doesn’t have an issue with the signs unless he receives complaints.

“Usually, we don’t have a problem with them,” Fulmer said. “We don’t say anything about them unless they get too cluttered or we start getting calls about them or if they are on a right-of-way. If they are found on a right-of-way, we will take them up and put them in our city shop instead of throwing them away. In years past, the signs will usually stay out until the candidate’s campaign is over. If you don’t have a campaign going anymore, it would be good to go ahead and pick them up.”