They arrive. It’s inevitable.
Like an invasion of locusts, campaign signs will soon swarm the city, seemingly covering every square foot of available space for months.
As Maricopa enters election season for local, state and federal offices, signs will reappear at street corners, medians, front lawns and vacant lots. They will not be able to climb into public rights-of-way before May 23.
But they won’t go up in some of the most visible places this year.
According to City Clerk Vanessa Bueras, the city will enforce a city ordinance stating that “freeways or state highways, or overpasses on such highways or state highways, are not included in areas where signs are permitted.”
“Political signs are always a problem,” Bueras said. “This year… signs cannot be placed on SR 347.”
Bueras, who was still trying to verify Tuesday night whether the ban applies to signs both in the median and along the sides of the roadway, said a problem that prevented the city from enforcing the ordinance in 2020 had been eliminated.
“We didn’t maintain the right of way on the 347 in the last election,” Bueras said. “Although it is impossible to place signs on the 347, we did not enforce it because it was not our right of way. If (the Arizona Department of Transportation) came in and pulled signs, we wouldn’t know and we wouldn’t know where they were taking them. We were telling candidates that we hadn’t maintained it, so if they put signs on 347, they risked ADOT removing them and keeping them. Now we maintain the right of way, so we will enforce the law.
During the run-up to the 2020 election, some Trump supporters claimed signs were stolen along SR 347, although there were talks of state crews removing them.
Other sections of the code that citizens and candidates should be aware of include:
• Political posters cannot be put up less than 71 days before a primary election and must be removed within 15 days of the general election.
• Candidates who run for a primary and do not advance must remove their placards within 15 days of the primary.
• Although signs may not be placed on state highways, they may be placed in a public right-of-way owned or controlled by the Town of Maricopa. But they are not permitted to be placed on lampposts and traffic signs, or on city-owned guardrails along SR 347.
• Signs can only support or oppose a candidate for public office or an election measure.
• Signs may not be placed in a location hazardous to public safety, obstructing clear view of the area, or interfering with the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act.
• The maximum size (area) of political signs is 16 square feet if the sign is located in a residential area or 32 square feet elsewhere.
• Each sign must include the name and either a telephone number or web address of the candidate’s contact person or campaign committee.