Law prohibits campaign ads on public rights-of-way

Alaska’s Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is reminding those engaged in political campaigns statewide that political advertising is prohibited along public rights-of-way.

Alaska residents voted overwhelmingly in 1998 to keep the state free of outdoor advertising. State statutes and regulations address unauthorized signs both within and along the state’s public rights-of-way, including parked vehicles displaying such signs and signs on private property. While boundaries of the public rights-of-way are not always easily determined on the ground, the laws prohibit all unauthorized signs legible from the traveled way.

Signs placed within the state’s public rights-of-way are prohibited. This applies to vehicles parked in rights-of-way that are used to display political advertisements. These signs create safety hazards by obstructing views, distracting drivers and creating obstacles in collisions.

They may be removed by DOT&PF crews without notification.

Signs placed along the state’s public rights-of-way are also prohibited. State laws apply to signs on public or commercial property either within 660 feet of that public right-of-way or beyond 660 feet and legible from the main traveled way. These signs may be removed by the state at the expense of the property owner.

Owners of property or the person placing or maintaining unauthorized signs are subject to removal expenses of at least $50 per sign, fines of at least $50 and as much as $5,000 if convicted of a misdemeanor, and associated costs.

DOT officials said the state recognized that advertising is an important effort and expensive investment, but that campaigns and volunteers should be aware of prohibitions regarding advertising in and along the state’s public rights-of-way.

More information is available at http://dot.alaska.gov/campaignsigns/