The primary is officially over, but you may not be able to tell if you have driven around Western New York.

Yard signs representing political candidates remain littered on everyone’s lawn, some have blown onto the street, and there are many signs that have been left by candidates near polling locations.

They are great to have during the campaign season, but now that Election Day has officially wrapped up, these signs can become a bit of an eyesore.

But who is supposed to take down the campaign signs?

A campaign sign should never be placed within 100 feet of a polling site. If one is, this can be considered “electioneering,” which is known as the act of carrying campaign signs to a polling location with the intent of influencing voters -- something you cannot do.

If a sign happens to go up within this 100 foot radius, poll workers are asked to take these signs down so as to not influence or sway one’s decision in the election.

Before a campaign sign is placed anywhere, a member from that particular candidate’s campaign should have permission from the property owner, regardless if it appears to be private, public, vacant, or occupied property. Permission should be received first.

Signs should be removed within 3 days following the election, according to the New York Political Sign Laws, but you cannot go around yard to yard and start removing others’ campaign signs on your own. (That’s against the law.)

The only people who can remove a sign are:

  1. the campaigns who placed it,
  2. the owner of the property in which the sign is placed,
  3. law enforcement,
  4. and highway crews.

Unlike other states, New York classifies political signs as temporary, similar to real estate signs, festival signs, and school event signs that you may often see along the side of the road. These signs must adhere to all the same regulations when they are placed along state highways so as to not block or obstruct a driver’s view, meaning no signs should ever be placed in a median, a traffic island, or anywhere expressway-type road that could become a distraction.

If it has been 3 days since the election (or you feel strongly that a sign should be removed), it is recommended to call the headquarters of the party of the candidate whose campaign sign(s) remain up.

When it comes to public land, it is not so much the property owners’ responsibility to manage the campaign signs.

Most candidates are required to remove all their political signs from public land within those 3 days following the election. However, the signs can stay on private property if the owners don’t mind.

You Took Your Yard Sign Down...Now What?

There’s not really a lot of options for how to repurpose or dispose of your yard sign from the candidate you were advocating for. You can keep it in your garage as a keepsake if you want, but it seems like most people tend to flip the signs inside out and use them to advertise an upcoming event of theirs (usually a yard sale or garage sale).

What To Remember For Following Elections

Campaign signs should be removed within three days of the election. Do not place campaign signs on the expressway or on controlled-access roads where it can be a distraction for drivers. If you see one, you should contact the authorities.

Signs should never be placed on a median or on traffic islands, either. It is a risk to a driver and inhibits their ability to see.

The only people who can remove a sign are: the campaigns who placed it, the owner of the property in which the sign is placed, law enforcement, and highway crews.

However, if you feel strongly that a sign should be removed, you are encouraged to call the headquarters of the party of the candidate whose campaign sign(s) remain up.

With election day coming up in November, it's a good thing to remember, for this one and election seasons to come.

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