Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

September 9, 2020

Political campaign signs not permitted on state highway rights of way

WILLMAR, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds everyone that the placement of campaign and other advertising signage on highway rights of way is not allowed under state law. All state, county, city and township roads and highways fall under the same state law.

Highway rights of way include driving lanes, inside and outside shoulders, ditches and sight corners at intersections. MnDOT crews are required to remove unlawfully placed signs. When improperly placed signs are removed by MnDOT, every effort is made to temporarily store the sign at one of its local maintenance truck stations until the owner retrieves it.

As political campaigns increase their efforts toward the Nov. 3 election, it’s important to know and follow the state laws regarding placement of signs off state property. Landowner consent is needed before signs can be placed on private property outside of the right of way.

Violation of the law (Minn. Stat. 160.27) is a misdemeanor. Civil penalties also may apply if the placement of signage contributes to a motor vehicle crash and injures a person or damages a motor vehicle that runs off the road.

The Minnesota Outdoor Advertising Control Act (Minn. Stat. 173.15) also prohibits placing advertising materials on public utility poles, trees and shrubs, and painting or drawing on rocks or natural features.
For information about the proper placement of campaign signs or where to retrieve signs, contact the local MnDOT office at 320-231-5195.  See also mndot.gov/govrel/rw_signs.html.

When placing signs, the best way to avoid an emergency or unintentionally striking an underground facility is to call 811 before digging, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Go to the GSOC website and request that underground utilities be marked near the area of the digging.  

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