Some Arizona candidates haven’t taken down their political signs

State law mandates that signs be removed 15 days after election.
Political campaign signs continue to plague the Valley weeks after Election Day. Though most of them were retrieved by the campaigns, some decided not to.
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 5:45 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 8, 2022 at 4:57 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Drive around the Valley, and you can’t miss the number of political signs. Many residents say they’re tired of seeing them, and city officials say they understand residents’ frustration.

“Absolutely yes, I mean they create quite a visual clutter in our community,” David Williams, sign supervisor for the City of Phoenix, said. Williams said that Phoenix and other Valley cities follow state law that says campaigns need to remove all political signs 15 days after an election. We are far past that, so what happens next? Most municipalities will give campaigns a reminder to pick up their stuff. “Most campaigns do it on their own. Some need a gentle push. Others don’t comply at all.”

If candidates don’t comply, city workers eventually uproot all the signs, and candidates have a short period of time to retrieve them from the city. If they don’t, the signs wind up in a pile. Mesa says unclaimed political signs are actually put to good use by being used in gun training and target practice by the Mesa Police Department.

There’s no technical penalty if candidates don’t remove their signs, although candidates could be cited for zoning violations. Typically cities choose not to do so. A Glendale spokesman said, “We typically do not cite the candidate for the sign and will remove and dispose of it. Our goal is compliance rather than being punitive when possible.”

The City of Phoenix said that they believe writing citations would be cost-prohibitive. “It’s a considerable amount of city staff time and taxpayer’s money to do that paperwork and to appear in court and run that process. So, the cost far outweighs recycling them or letting them pick the signs up.”

Since candidates realize that cities will eventually pick up the signs, some might be getting lazy. According to the City of Mesa, they usually only collect 150 signs following an election. However, in this election, they recovered 300, which is double.