Local News

DOT, Police Deal With Legal, Illegal Placement Of Campaign Signs

Posted October 21, 2004 3:14 a.m. EDT

— Political campaigns are heating up, but some of the signs of those races are being removed legally and illegally.

According to North Carolina law, political signs are not allowed to be placed in public right-of-ways. Crews with the state Department of Transportation are going out and removing the signs from those areas. However, they said they do not have the manpower to remove all of the signs.

The state is also collecting truckloads each week.

"They cleared them all away on Saturday, and they were all back by Sunday," said Roger Ehrlich, who works for Public Assembly, an organization that teaches kids about government.

Ehrlich said he plans to paint over the signs, prime them and use them in a public art display.

The town of Cary has removed more than 1,000 signs placed illegally this campaign season.

"The town citizens have made it clear to us that this is something they're interested in doing, particularly on a long-term basis," said Cary zoning compliance supervisor Mark Tutor. "We get a number of calls. They want these signs to be removed, so it is complaint-driven as well as a proactive measure."

To compound the problem, authorities say some signs that are legally placed in people's yards are being stolen.

"It is certainly discouraging to think people would take signs out of the yards," said Capt. Dennis Poteat, of the Raleigh Police Department. "It is a crime. It is a theft to take something that is not yours, but it has to be put in perspective, it is a property crime and it is something that will go away when the election is over."

If you see signs that are illegally placed in public right-of-ways, you are not supposed to remove them. They can only be removed by local or state authorities.