As election season quickly approaches, candidates and community members are encouraged to familiarize themselves with rules and regulations regarding political signage in Gadsden County.
Temporary political campaign signs can be placed on private property with the permission of the owner.
These advertisements do not require a permit, which is why candidates and their supporters are encouraged to place signs on private property.
Political campaign signs may not be placed on any state, county, or city rights of way.
In Florida, a “right-of-way” is defined as land “in which the state, the department, a county, or a municipality owns the fee or has an easement devoted to or required for use as a transportation facility.”
Unauthorized use of a public right of way is prohibited by Florida law.
If campaign materials violate state right of way, the Florida Department of Transportation will remove the sign and transport it to one of the department’s maintenance yards.
Following the sign’s removal, the Florida Department of Transportation will “make every effort to place a courtesy call to [a candidate’s] campaign office” informing them of the sign’s removal and location of the maintenance yard in which it is stored.
All political advertisements must clearly display the name of the candidate, party affiliation, office sought, and any financial sponsors.
In the 30 days following a withdrawal of candidacy, election loss, or election victory, candidates and their supporters must make a “good faith effort to remove all of his or her political campaign advertisements.”
If this rule is not adhered to, local governmental entities have the ability to remove campaign materials and fine the candidate with the cost of removal.
This rule does not apply to campaign materials meant to be worn by people, placed on motor vehicles, posted for no-cost on an internet platform, or distributed through any other technological avenues.
In Gadsden County, the Supervisor of Elections encourages compliance with campaign signage regulations through supplying hand-outs from the Florida Department of Transportation regarding placement and removal of campaign signs in each candidate’s campaign packet.
In addition, the Supervisor of Elections holds candidate workshops, and maintains frequent communication with candidates to clearly communicate sign regulations.
To ensure a smooth and legally compliant election, the Gadsden County community must adhere to the state’s campaign advertisement guidelines.
For further information, residents can contact the Florida Department of Transportation Outdoor Advertising Office at (850) 414-4545 or the Gadsden County Supervisor of Elections at (850) 627-9910.
Hannah Carter – Gadsden County News Service