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Too soon for signs

Political signs are not allowed until Sept. 15

POLK COUNTY—With this year’s election still almost 2 months away, some people are complaining that it is too soon to see political signs around the county.

Placing political signs on public properties and state rights-of-way is not allowed by state law until Sept. 15 this year.

Signs on private property are not restricted.

The Bulletin reached out to Polk County Sheriff Tim Wright regarding signs placed in the county, with him responding that removing out of compliant signs is not a responsibility of the sheriff’s office. The North Carolina Department of Transportation and individual towns have jurisdiction over signs that are not permitted.

The Bulletin also reached out to the Polk County Republican and Democrat Headquarters regarding signs placed recently.

Republican Party Chair Timothy Koch said the local GOP has been experiencing a groundswell of interest by the Polk County electorate for all manner of Republican materials, including yard signs.

The signs placed in the roundabouts, a state owned property, are republican signs for state candidates, not local candidates.

Polk County Democrat Chair Andy Millard said the democrats are just as eager as their electoral opponents to plant campaign signs but will wait until they are allowed, which is Sept. 15.

Koch said the local Republican Party has not placed any campaign signs in the county yet.

“The Republican candidates themselves provide yard signs for local residents to display in and around their yards and places of business, but do not encourage the placement of signs in areas that are deemed ‘off limits,’” Koch said. “The Polk County Republican Party itself has not been placing campaign signs, only private citizens have. The Party will remind the electorate to be mindful of their choices of sign placement at our next general meeting.”

Millard said North Carolina Legislature imposed limitation on when political signs are allowed to be placed in public rights-of-way. Any political sign placed in a right-of-way prior to Sept. 15 this year is in violation of the state law.

“Signs placed on one’s own property and outside of the public right-of-way are allowed at any time,” Millard said. “However, signs placed along public roadways or in areas such as the roundabouts in Columbus would be blatantly out of compliance, so the Polk County Democratic Party has discouraged our folks from placing such signs.”

Millard also said the Democrats plan to remove their signs immediately after the election to avoid ruining the county’s spectacular views for any longer than necessary.

“There are plenty of partisan issues over which we can disagree, but this should not be one of them,” Millard said. “It is a simple matter of abiding by the law, respecting the principles of fair play, being a good neighbor, and conserving the unspoiled beauty of Polk County.”