Campaign Signs Sprouting Up Illegally

Several congressional campaigns are placing signs in the public right of way, Brian McNeill writes in today’s Daily Progress, and at least one has no intention of stopping. Of the seven candidates vying for the Republican nomination to challenge Tom Perriello, four of them have been placing signs by the roadside illegally over the last week or two: Michael McPadden, Jim McKelvey, Feda Kidd Morton, and Laurence Verga.

This sort of thing is common in elections, generally a result of young, overzealous given a pickup full of signs and insufficient instruction. McNeill got quotes from two of the campaigns. McPadden says that one volunteer had put signs up illegally but is remedying that. But, amazingly, McKelvey’s campaign manager says that they’re simply not going to follow the law. The campaign of Ken Boyd—another candidate in the race—is crying foul, since by following the law, they’re left at a disadvantage. Seven Six losing campaigns are going to find themselves without staff or volunteers on Wednesday, after the nominee is chosen on the 8th, meaning that it’ll likely be up to VDOT to remove the signs, which is to say that we taxpayers will be funding their removal and disposal.

Who wants to vote for a candidate who thinks they’re above the law?

13 Responses to “Campaign Signs Sprouting Up Illegally”


  • In his undergraduate years, Dobbsy was once fined $10 for posting two 3′ x 3′ signs on US 29 saying RADAR AHEAD. It shut down a state trooper radar trap. The guys wanted an arrest in the worst way.

    It took over an hour but they finally found a Virginia law to bring the charge under. “Erecting a sign on state highway property without VDHT authorization.”

    The judge, who used an honest-to-god ear trumpet, wasn’t sure state troopers had authority to enforce that law. His cousin, the prosecutor, assured him they did.

    Last month Dobbsy was told by an Albemarle county police spokesman that they have no authority to remove the illegal advertising signs alongside Rt. 29 or any other state or federal road.

    So the 20 signs in the median on 29 North promoting a store sale a few weeks ago stayed there week after week, polluting the environment and setting a horrible example.

  • Hey, Waldo do you really think all 7 candidates will lose on Tuesday- it seems unlikely. Is that a Freudian political slip? ;)

    The signs seemed to have been removed from 29.

  • Well, VDOT is part of the problem here:

    “VDOT workers usually remove signs when performing other tasks, such as mowing or maintenance. VDOT rarely levies the $100 fine, Hatter added.”

    Start fining these people the $100 per sign and I bet you see a lot less of this.

  • Fred,

    Referring to yourself in the third person is a poor habit.

  • Chad, the person who can be tried and fined is the one who actually placed the sign, not the candidate or merchant who may benefit. The law must be changed in order to cure that near-impossible situation.

    The legislature is now willing to automatically convict and fine a vehicle owner for passing a red light when his -vehicle- is photographed going through. The law assumes the owner was driving, though it’s possible to bring evidence otherwise in court.

    Having taken that giant step away from innocent until proven guilty, perhaps Virginia lawmakers will take an equally unconstitutional look at the signage laws and automatically convict and fine the firm illegally advertised.

    That would have nothing to do with political candidates, whose signs would be exempt from any such law due to the massive ease for fraud by supporters of opponents.

    Dobbsy shares the joy that thus far there has not been a plague of stolen political signs. At least we’re not reading reports of that.

  • Chad, the person who can be tried and fined is the one who actually placed the sign, not the candidate or merchant who may benefit. The law must be changed in order to cure that near-impossible situation.

    Ahh, thanks Fred.

    Is it possible for citizens to run in trouble with the law for removing these illegally placed signs themselves?

  • Hey, Waldo do you really think all 7 candidates will lose on Tuesday- it seems unlikely. Is that a Freudian political slip? ;)

    Admittedly, that seems like an unlikely scenario. :) No, I’ve had the number of candidates in this race stuck in my head as 8, since at one point there were there many, so I’d figured 8-1=7. Good math, bad premise. :) I’ve corrected it now—thanks!

  • No different from all the Obama signs on Rt 29 back in 2008 and like the Hillary ones a few months before that.

  • The worse though were the 800Junk ones that used to pop up everywhere advertising for some waste removal business. I haven’t seen them in a while, fortunately.

  • As of this Posting- McPadden and Verga Signs are still up in the public right of way on 20 South at the entrance to Scottsville Elementary and on Irish Road Near the food lion.

    Additionally A Periello Sign- one of the large one’s placed near the road on private property- presumably by a supporter- was vandalized with black spray paint.

    I’m going to shamelessly speculate it was probably done by an angry Social Security Collecting Elderly White Male Tea Party member.

  • Somebody’s damn-ugly sign is still up in the public right of way at the intersection 250 and Rt. 20 North.

  • The slow pace at which the county removes these signs seems to embolden other folks to plant their own roadside signs.

    Some areas have police auxiliary volunteers to flag abandoned cars, patrol school zones, etc. Perhaps the county could field some volunteers to remove illegally posted signs and help track persistent violators.

  • The law needs to be changed so that the campaigns can be fined for not taking these down in a timely fashion. I’m still seeing McKelvey and Verga signs.

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