The 2020 election season is in full-swing across the nation. As a result, political signage has begun popping up all over yards and roadsides. While this is a completely normal occurrence, and a seemingly harmless way of showing support for a particular candidate, there are several factors to keep in mind when displaying your sign.
One significant point to consider is sign-placement. As outlined by West Virginia State Code: “political signs are not permitted on state property which includes rights of way and roadsides. Those who are convicted of violating this section of Code are guilty of a misdemeanor and can be fined up to $100 per occurrence. (per sign)”
In a statement released in October of 2018, W.Va. Secretary of State Mac Warner said: “Inevitably, some candidates or their supporters will place signs on state-owned property despite the laws and despite our advice not to do it. They do so at their own risk, and subject themselves to the penalties of the law.”
Another concern is in regard to the theft or vandalism of political signs.
“Taking someone else’s sign or destroying a sign amounts to theft or destruction of property, and can be a criminal offense,” Warner said in the same statement.
In addition, a perpetrator of such a crime could also be charged with criminal trespassing. According to the West Virginia State Code, a trespassing conviction brings with it a fine of between $100 and $500. Theft and destruction of property carry fines which are commensurate with the value of the stolen or damaged property, and the intent of the perpetrator.