County gives refresher on election sign etiquette


It’s campaign season and political signs are located along roads and in people’s yards all over Dubois County.
They will be part of the scenery until Nov. 7, the day after the General Election.

But there are rules regarding the signs. And everyone — candidates and their supporters — need to follow those rules, the Dubois County Election Board said Tuesday.

“It’s not always the candidates who put signs in the ground,” said Mark Messmer, chairman of the Dubois County Republican Party. “Landowners also put them in, and the candidate cannot control where that person puts it.”

He suggested that the public also be made aware that this issue.

Signs must not be placed in rights of ways, which are areas of land lying close to the roads, the board said. This tends to be a problem that comes up every election year.

That rule comes from municipalities.

Depending on where the road is located, county, city, town and state law require that those areas stay open for different reasons. One of the main reasons is that utilities typically are located in that strip of land on either side of the road. Keeping the land open means that if a line needs to be repaired, workers will have an easier time getting to the line.

Also, keeping the area open helps with sight distance, which is important to the safety of drivers and pedestrians.
The code enforcer of a community has the authority to remove illegal signs.

“If they see that the sign is too close to the road, they can pull it up,” said Roger Messmer, the head of the election board.

Each community has its own rule of how many feet a sign must be away from the road, including Birdseye, Ferdinand, Holland, Huntingburg, Jasper and Dubois County. The State of Indiana also has its rule, and has been known to have Indiana Department of Transportation workers out removing signs, Messmer said.

To find out the specific rule for an area, candidates should contact the government or street department of the community in which they want to place a sign, the board said.

Also, when installing a sign, candidates must make sure they have the permission of the property owner, the board said. That led to a discussion about Election Day voting places. Some locations, like Jasper Middle School, have requested that no candidate signs be installed on the property.

Dubois County Clerk Bridgette Jarboe said she will send that list to the county party chairs so that they can distribute the information to their candidates.

To find out the rules for signs along streets, call the community in which the sign is being placed: Birdseye, 812-389-2419; Ferdinand, 812-367-2280; Holland, 812-536-3640; Huntingburg, 812-683-4122 or 812-683-2211; Jasper, 812-482-1130 or 1-812-482-4255; Dubois County, 812-482-5505 or 1-812-481-7000; or INDOT, 855-463-6848.

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