Aside from campaign signs that have started piling up along Yuba-Sutter roadways, local election officials say the current election cycle has largely proceeded without any real issues or dirty tactics.
“In the past we’ve had a lot of complaints about signs but this election, I don’t think we’ve had hardly any,” said Terry Hansen, Yuba County clerk-recorder. “We did have a couple complaints about some Trump signs going up too early, but nothing that was really causing a problem.”
Campaign signs can only be placed on private property if the owner has given permission. They also cannot be placed on public easements, obstruct drivers’ view, or be placed within 100 feet from a polling place or ballot drop box. Caltrans will remove signs on state property and place them in corporation yards to have candidates come and pick them up.
“We’ve really never had a problem with candidates taking them down after an election,” Hansen said. “We did have one person running for a judgeship who never took it down, but most people are good about taking it down themselves.”
Sutter County Clerk-Recorder Donna Johnston said a few signs are typically destroyed or vandalized in an election year, whether it be from organized efforts or just kids wanting to draw mustaches on a particular poster. Candidates who believe their signs have been targeted are referred to local law enforcement to file reports.
“If candidates are getting creative with their signs, they might want to check with the city or county ordinance to see if their plans are acceptable,” Johnston said. “I’ve seen some signs that are higher than others and up in the air, some larger ones, so if it’s out of the norm they should check.”
Some landlords also don’t allow renters to display signs on their property, so it’s always good for renters to check with them first before putting one up, Johnston said.
When a complaint is lodged with the election offices, Hansen said, officials will work with the individual’s campaign to let them know a complaint has been filed and on ways to remedy the situation. Hansen said from her experience, they comply 99.9% of the time.
After the Nov. 3 election, candidates will have a period of time to remove the signs, which varies depending on the county or city. Yuba County requires signs be taken down 30 days after an election, while Sutter County has a 10-day requirement.