West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner is issuing a friendly reminder to all candidates and political committees about the placement of signs on state-owned property.
According to West Virginia State Code, political signs are not permitted on state property, which includes rights of way and roadsides.
Anyone convicted of violating this section of code is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be fined up to $100 per occurrence (per sign).
Warner said that his Elections Division has notified all candidates of the prohibition, and guidance is available in candidate guides his office provides to all candidates. Candidates are responsible for the placement of their signs no matter who places the signs for the candidate.
In addition to State Code 17-19-1, the West Virginia Division of Highways issued its own advisory defining what is prohibited:
- Signs or posters cannot be placed on or above a Division of Highways right of way, which normally stretches 20 feet from the center line of a public road. Distances do vary, however, so please contact the West Virginia Division of Highways if you are uncertain.
- Signs or posters near rights of way must comply with the outdoor advertising statute in Chapter 17, Article 19, Section 1 of the West Virginia Code, and must also conform to any municipal ordinances regulating outdoor advertising.
- Signs or posters cannot be placed on Division of Highways traffic control signs nor block such signs, and cannot obscure the view of any connecting road or intersection.
- Signs or posters cannot be placed on elements in nature, such as rocks or trees.
- Avoid placing materials on fence posts, utility poles or other stationary objects on private property without consent of the property owners.
- Political overhead banners cannot be erected over any county, state, or federal highway.
Any candidate or political committee with questions or concerns can contact the West Virginia Secretary of State Elections Division at 304-558-6000.