Rules Of The Road For The Upcoming Election
It’s election season, and that means candidate signs are sprouting everywhere along roadways like kudzu. Multiplying along with the signs are complaints about their removal as well as vandalism.
However, not every sign being removed is an example of dirty politics. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews are taking down illegally placed items along state maintained right of way areas. No signage is allowed on right-of-ways for U.S. and Kentucky routes other than official highway signs.
According to a Transportation Cabinet press release, campaign signs must be placed beyond right of way limits.
“For roads with a right of way fence, no signs may be attached. The restriction also includes signage for yard sales and real estate advertising. In addition, it is illegal to attach items such as flyers, posters, balloons or streamers to stop signs, highway markers or any other road sign or utility pole,” the state said.
Property owners who maintain their lawn to the pavement edge should also keep yard signs behind the right of way line, the state said.
Removed items will be taken to the county highway maintenance facility and held for a month. Unclaimed materials will be trashed or recycled. Questions related to legal and illegal sign placement can be directed to the district 7 office in Lexington at 859-246-2355.
Of course, it’s not only the state removing election signs. Some are being stolen or defaced. Despite what’s been posted online, removing or vandalizing an election sign is not a federal offense, however, it’s still against the law.
Mercer County Sheriff Ernie Kelty said sign vandals or thieves would be prosecuted, “If we can find out who did it.”
“It is criminal mischief,” Kelty said.
Anyone interested in running as a write-in candidate has until Friday, Oct. 26, at 4 p.m. to file. It is too late for write-in candidates to have their names included on the ballot, which have already been printed, said Mercer County Clerk Chris Horn.
The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 6. The deadline to register to vote was Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 4 p.m. Absentee voting began last month and will continue until Monday, Nov. 5, at 4:30 p.m.
Voters may cast absentee ballots by mail or at the county clerk’s office. State law does not provide for early voting or unexcused absentee voting. Absentee ballots can only be obtained by contacting the county clerk’s office.
According to the secretary of state’s website, to qualify to vote by mail-in absentee ballot, a voter must be:
- Advanced in age, disabled, or ill
- Military personnel, their dependents or overseas citizens
- A student who temporarily resides outside the county
- A voter who temporarily resides outside Kentucky and who maintains eligibility to vote in Kentucky
- Incarcerated, but not yet convicted of a crime
- Prevented from voting in person at the polls on election day and from casting an in-person absentee ballot in the county clerk’s office on all days in-person absentee voting is conducted because of his or her employment location.
All mail-in ballots must be postmarked before 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5.
In addition to the above qualifications, to vote by in-person absentee ballot, voters must be:
- Out of the county on election day
- Voter or the spouse of a voter who has surgery scheduled that will require hospitalization on election day
- Pregnant woman in third trimester
- Precinct election officers, alternate precinct election officers, county board of elections’ members, county board of elections’ staff, deputy county clerks and state board of elections staff.
In Kentucky, electioneering is prohibited within 100 feet of a polling place. This includes the Mercer County Fiscal Courthouse as long as absentee ballots are being cast.
In addition to being prohibited from campaigning near a polling site, people are prohibited from being in the voting room except to vote.
Kentucky state law says that no person other than a voter, a person assisting a voter, a minor child, a challenger or a person certified to enforce the law may be in the voting room while voting is taking place.
To learn more, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.