With Election Day over, what happens to lingering campaign signs?

Many campaign signs are still displayed after election day.
Many campaign signs are still displayed after election day.(KTUU)
Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 5:33 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Election Day 2020 has come and gone, but the signs of the races still stand across Anchorage.

However, the chief of Code Enforcement for Anchorage says lingering campaign signs have generally not been an issue in the past.

“Essentially they usually take care of themselves in that if they are still up about 30 days after the election, then we will contact the campaigns and ask them to remove them,” Jack Frost, chief of Code Enforcement for the municipality said. “Unless it’s an immediate safety hazard, for instance, one of the large political signs may be obstructing the clear vision area, so vehicles or pedestrians can’t see safely. In that case, we’ll immediately get out and move it and then contact the campaigns to ask them to remove them."

Frost and the state said that this year, campaigns have been good at complying with laws that apply to campaign signs.

In Alaska, state law outlaws billboards. However, a court order in 2018 clarified that temporary political campaign signs 32-square-feet or smaller may be displayed on private property.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities says that most problems with signs stem from signs being placed in a state right of way, but the problem is usually taken care of with just a few phone calls.

“The people that we work with are really civically minded, we just get great compliance, it’s just a matter of having that conversation,” Shannon McCarthy, spokesperson for DOT&PF said.

McCarthy says during this campaign, the department noted 94 signs that needed to be moved because they were in a state right of way.

“It was actually strangely a fairly quiet year for signs,” McCarthy said. “It was two years ago we had so many more signs that were safety concerns, really encroaching on the drivers' ability, so I think the campaigns really heard us and they made adjustments.”

Although many signs should be coming down soon, people in Anchorage can expect more to pop up as the race for Anchorage’s next mayor heats up. That election will take place in April 2021 if a special election does not occur before that.

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