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New state law deals with political signs

RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper has signed Senate Bill 220 into law, a measure dealing primarily with the placement and removal of political campaign signs.

According to the wording of this new law (G.S. 136-32), during the period beginning on the 30th day before the beginning date of “one-stop” early voting and ending on the 10th day after the primary or election day, persons may place political signs in the right-of-way of the state highway system as provided in this section. Signs must be placed in compliance with subsection (d) of this section and must be removed by the end of the period prescribed in this subsection.

Any political sign remaining in the right-of-way of the state highway system more than 30 days after the end of the period prescribed in this subsection shall be deemed unlawfully placed and abandoned property, and a person may remove and dispose of such political sign without penalty.

Pursuant to Article 8 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes, a city/town may by ordinance prohibit or regulate the placement of political signs on rights-of-way of streets located within the corporate limits of a municipality and maintained by the municipality. Any such ordinance shall provide that any political sign that remains in a right-of-way of streets located within the corporate limits of a municipality and maintained by the municipality more than 30 days after the end of the period prescribed in the ordinance is to be deemed unlawfully placed and abandoned property, and a person may remove and dispose of such political sign without penalty. In the absence of an ordinance prohibiting or regulating the placement of political signs on the rights-of-way of streets located within a municipality and maintained by the municipality, the provisions of subsections (b) through (e) of this section shall apply.

Section 1.5 (a) of G.S. 163A-1046 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

(d) The county board of elections shall ensure that each precinct voting place permits candidates at least 36 hours prior to the opening of the voting place and at least 36 hours after the close of the voting place, as provided in G.S. 163A-1130, to place and retrieve political advertising. Any political advertising placed outside the times specified in this subsection may be removed by the property owner.