Q&AZ: What are the rules about campaign signs on the side of the road?

By Scott Bourque
Published: Monday, September 28, 2020 - 5:05am
Updated: Sunday, January 22, 2023 - 10:21pm

Q&AZ is supported in part by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

A large Trump/Pence sign mounted above other signs in north Phoenix.
Scott Bourque/KJZZ
A large Trump/Pence sign mounted above other signs at the intersection of 51st Avenue and Cactus Road in Phoenix in 2020.

A KJZZ listener said she saw large Trump campaign signs mounted on poles above other campaign signs at four intersections along Cactus and Bell Roads in west Phoenix and Glendale.

"Why are the Trump/Pence Campaign signs at 43rd, 51st and 59th avenues on Cactus Road and at 75th avenue and Bell posted at a much higher height than other campaign signs?" she asked. "I thought there were regulations on the size and height. I believe these signs violate the regulations."

State law controls the maximum size of political campaign signs, as well as where and when they can be placed on public property, and limit when cities and counties can remove them. City zoning codes also impose additional requirements on signs, including right-of-way restrictions and more defined guidance on size and locations.

Statewide, campaign signs can not be larger than 32 square feet, or 16 square feet if placed in a residential area. KJZZ measured the Trump/Pence sign at 51st Avenue and Cactus Road, and found it was 8 feet wide and 4 feet tall — the maximum allowable size under state law.

Phoenix and Glendale city code limits the maximum size of political signs to 32 square feet — but say nothing about how high signs can be mounted.

Signs cannot be placed in a manner that interferes with access for people with disabilities or obstructs clear vision in the area. In Peoria, campaign signs cannot be mounted within 30 feet of a curb at an intersection. Individual cities can regulate how signs are placed in public rights-of-way, and can even create sign-free zones where all campaign signs are banned. Most signs are placed on private property.

A Phoenix city spokesperson said no signs can be placed on city property — including light poles and traffic signals.

Cities have different rules about when signs must be removed after an election. In Phoenix and Glendale, for example, candidates and campaigns must remove all signs within 10 days of the election. In Peoria, Tempe, Mesa, and at the state level, they have 15 days.

In Arizona, it is a Class 2 Misdemeanor to deface, remove, alter, or cover any political sign for any candidate or ballot issue.

A Trump campaign sign
A Trump campaign sign at 67th Avenue and Happy Valley Road in Phoenix.