Election Signs and the State Highway

Monday was what the Office of the Secretary of State called their Opening Day, the first day of filing week. With opening day comes time for people to start showing support for their team. During election season, that means campaign signs.

Just a reminder that campaign signs are not allowed in the state highway right-of-way. A big thank you to those who take the time to share this information with campaign volunteers. If you haven’t yet shared that info, please do.

Because it’s not always easy to know the boundaries of a state highway right-of-way, here are a few clues:

  • Utility poles are typically located inside the right-of-way. So no signs between the pole and the road.
  • Many locations also have a fence line separating the right-of-way from private property. So again, no signs between the fence and the road.

If we see signs in these locations, or others within the state right-of-way, we take them down. Sign removal isn’t one of our primary duties, so we may not get to them all. But, if you find your sign was taken down and you would like it back, contact your local WSDOT Maintenance Office. No guarantees, but it could still be around.

Under the Washington Administrative Code 468-66, temporary political signs are allowed on private property visible from state highways. However, the property owner must give consent, the signs must comply with the WAC, as well as any local regulations. Campaign signs on private property visible from the state highways must also meet the following requirements:

  • Maximum size of 32 square feet in area.
  • Removed within 10 days following the election.

Also remember, what I am writing here is for state highways. Local municipalities also have their own regulations, which may differ from city to city and county to county.

The best way to determine the boundary lines for a state highway right-of-way is to check with WSDOT Outdoor Advertising Specialist Pat O’Leary. He can be reached at OLearyP@wsdot.wa.gov or by calling (360) 705-7296. You will need to provide the state route number (I-5, SR 28, US 2, US 97, etc.) and the name of the nearest intersection or approximate milepost.