Political signs on highways

Learn about the rules and restrictions for placing campaign signs on or near state highway right-of-way.

Political signs are not allowed on state highways

Only official traffic control signs may be placed in the state highway right-of-way. All other signs are illegal and will be removed by maintenance crews. This includes political campaign signs.

For candidates and their supporters, please read our WSDOT Letter to Candidates (PDF 179KB).

Under Washington Administrative Code 468-66, temporary political signs are allowed on private property as ”on-premise” signs with no fee or permit requirement. For a campaign sign to be legally posted such that it is visible from a state highway, the property owner must give consent, and the signs must comply with all legal requirements of WAC 468-66 and any local agency sign ordinances.

Identifying state highway right-of-way

It’s not always easy to know if a given location is within the boundaries of a state highway right-of-way, but some roadside features can help give an idea of where the right-of-way limits are:

  • Utility poles are typically located inside the right-of-way, usually as close to the edge as possible. If the poles are located a good distance off the highway, they are probably at or near the edge of highway right-of-way. Generally, if a sign is located between a utility pole and the paved edge of the roadway, it will most likely be removed.
  • Fence lines are often at the edge of right-of-way, to separate the right-of-way from private property. Some state highways have specific "right-of-way fences", while others have fences installed by adjacent property owners. Generally, if a sign is located on the highway side of a parallel fence line, it will most likely be removed.

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