Post-election sign removal falls on candidates and their supporters

The Knox County Election Commission says it's hoping candidates who are no longer running will do their post-campaign duties and remove any signs still hanging around across the county.

KNOX COUNTY — The amount of calls Cliff Rodgers at the Knox County Election Commission get about political signs is enough to make any job difficult.

“People are calling us complaining about their placement, how big they are, they’re blocking views in intersections," he said. "Political signs are the bane of my existence.”

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Rodgers is frustrated because, aside form early voting and 100 feet from polling stations, campaign signs are not the commission's responsibility. Rather, signs and their removal fall under the responsibility of candidates and their supporters.

"it's incumbent on the candidate or their supporters to remove those signs in a timely manner," Rodgers said.

The timely manner aspect is tricky as far as the law goes. Mainly, that time frame depends on location. School zones require sign removal by 7 a.m. the morning after an election.

Candidates who win an election can keep other signs up through the general election in November. Those who lose have five days to take them down in Knox County. However, the state of Tennessee gives candidates three weeks. In Farragut, people have five days to remove signs with the exception of yards, but the town takes signs up immediately after an election if they stand on town property.

"All candidates know about our sign ordinance, so we haven't had to call anyone yet," said David Smoak, Farragut's town administrator. "Most of our business owners comply with the ordinance on their own."

As calls continue to come into his office, Rodgers hopes others realize the commissions are not responsible for the signs. He hopes the candidates and their supporters step up to remove the signs still spread across the county.

“Even the state laws, they have no punitive measures, but we hope that folks who have held themselves out to be candidates, to be leaders of Knox County or the city or the state will at least be good citizens after the election and do the right thing which is to remove some of these signs," he said.

For more on laws concerning political signs, click here.

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