Placement of campaign signs and other unauthorized objects in state highway rights of way is not allowed under state law, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT). In addition, campaign signs may not be placed on private property outside of the right of way limits without landowner consent.
Highway rights of way include the driving lanes, inside and outside shoulders, ditches and sight corners at intersections.
Mn/DOT crews will remove any unlawfully placed signs and impound them at one of its local maintenance truck stations. Crews in Southeast Minnesota have begun seeing signs for candidates in the August 12 primary election that are unlawfully placed.
Violation of the law (Minn. Stat. 160.27) is a misdemeanor. Civil penalties also may apply if the placement of such material contributes to a motor vehicle crash and injures a person or damages a motor vehicle that runs off the road.
In addition, the Minnesota Outdoor Advertising Control Act (Minn. Stat. 173.15) prohibits placing advertising materials on public utility poles, trees and shrubs, and painting or drawing on rocks or natural features.
Political campaign signs are treated in the same way as any other signs wrongly placed on state highway property by businesses, churches, private citizens or charitable groups.
For information regarding the proper placement of campaign signs or where to find signs that have been removed, contact the local Mn/DOT office in Rochester at 507-286-7500. See also www.mndot.gov/govrel/rw_signs.html.