Campaign signs could be a hazard if not removed - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Campaign signs could be a hazard if not removed

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ST. ALBANS, West Virginia -

Election Day has come and gone but if you look around many communities in our area you wouldn't know.

Political signs are still lining area neighborhoods and roadways.

We wanted to find out when those signs have to come down and who is responsible if they are not picked up.

A spokesperson with the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office said there is nothing specifically about political signs in the state code. But left over signs are a complaint heard often from callers to the Secretary of State's office.

A volunteer for Kanawha County Assessor Elect Sallie Robinson's campaign was out collecting Robinson's signs Wednesday afternoon.

"I'm just trying to help get all of the signs up off the road like we are supposed to do," said Danny Allen. "We don't need them for a while and it keeps our city clean."

But according to the West Virginia Department of Transportation not everyone is as polite.

"The signs can go into traffic. They get stuck in our culverts and our drainage and cause problems and backups," said West Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson Carrie Bly. "It goes on long after election season is over."

Some municipalities, like St. Albans for example, have spelled out guidelines for political signs, saying they should only be on private property and should be taken down within a month following the election.

On the state level Bly said anyone can be fined for putting a sign on a state right of way, political or otherwise.

"It is a misconception that it is okay for them to be there," Bly said referring to the signs. "On a state right of way it is always illegal for any sign to be posted."

Bly adds that when those signs are left behind it can end up costing the public money and putting lives in danger.

"When we are mowing, the metal on the bottoms of those signs gets caught in our mower and not only damages the machine but it can cause it to go out into traffic or hurt someone," Bly said. She said it can be almost impossible to enforce the law because it is difficult to prove who placed the signs.

Exactly where the right of ways are located varies depending on the area.

If you have concerns and live in city limits you can contact your mayor's office to ask about the rules.

If you think the signs are on a state right of way contact your local West Virginia Division of Highways District Office and they can investigate.