Campaign Signs Often Breaking State and City Laws
Department of Transportation says manpower to remove illegal signs is unreasonable
ANCHORAGE - With Alaska’ s primary election less than two weeks away, campaign signs are popping up around town. But as it turns out many of them have been placed illegally.
The state bans almost all outdoor advertising and that includes political signs. The Department of Transportation is charged with taking them down but admits it rarely does.
“That would require a significant amount of manpower and dedication so that we can do that equally for all candidates throughout the state,” says DOT’s Rick Feller. “That is a factor, of course, that we don’t have the ability to do that.”
There are different rules for campaign signs depending on whether they are placed near municipal roads or state funded roads. Signs in the right of way for any road are considered illegal.
And while yard signs in residential neighborhoods are okay with the owner’s permission, signs placed near state roads are required to have a setback of 660 feet. That’s twice the length of a football field.
Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich sees a big problem with that: People can’t see them.
“Those couldn't be seen because there would be four or five things between the sign and the traffic on the highway,” says Ruedrich.
Ruedrich says it’s a frustrating situation since candidates have a legal right to campaign, but the law makes it hard for them to do so. But while it might be hard to stay on the right side of the law when it comes to signs, the truth is that the laws are rarely enforced. DOT says it will take down signs that present a safety hazard to drivers but so far they haven’t found any.