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Rules for Political Signs in Topeka

TOPEKA (KSNT) – The 2024 Kansas primaries are approaching and you may have started seeing political ads on TV or online. Soon you will see those political signs in people’s yards.

On June 21, Kansans are allowed to post political signs in their yards, but there are certain rules you must follow.

“If you are placing a sign in your yard, make sure it is not next to a street corner and then check the city’s website to make sure you understand the right-of-way requirements,” said Andrew Howell, elections commissioner of Shawnee County.

For Topeka, that public right-of-way is 15 feet behind the curb, or 1 foot behind a public sidewalk in residential areas. Signs may also not be attached to traffic signs, signals or electricity poles. And those are just a few of these rules.

“There are over 600 statutes related to elections, so I think it’s difficult for the public to know exactly who to call on for some of these things,” Howell said. “I expect there will be some more phone calls about it. “If it’s just about campaign signs and where they’re placed, we’ll probably encourage people to call the city, town or county.”

It’s not just within the city limits. The Kansas Department of Transportation says they can’t even have the right of way on the highway.

“The primary reason is it distracts drivers, and secondly it hinders our maintenance operations,” said KDOT Highway Maintenance Superintendent David Studebaker. “And then of course the political thing is always a multi-sided thing. We don’t take sides. That is not our job.”

But it’s their job to pick up those plates when they see them.

“If it’s there, we’re going to remove it, we’re going to take it to the nearest KDOT office and we’re going to put it in a storage area,” Studebaker said. “If you lose a sign that has any value, if you contact KDOT, we will try to find it for you when we pick it up.”

When it comes to post-election, any political signals not claimed from K-Dot will be removed. For a complete list of the city’s rules on political signs, click here.