FAQ's

Who regulates campaign signs?

The State Board does not have regulatory authority over the placement or location of campaign signs. However, there are State and local laws that regulate where and when you can put up campaign signs.

Placement of signs on State roads and highways is regulated by the State Highway Administration. For Howard County, contact the following District Office to obtain additional information:

5111 Buckeystown Pike
Frederick, MD 21704
(301) 624-8122 or (800) 635-5119

Placement of signs on city and county roads and on public property in the cities and counties is regulated by local ordinances. According to Subtitle 5 - Signs, Section 3.503 - Exemptions of the Howard County Code of Ordinances:

(f) Political Campaign Signs. Signs announcing candidates seeking public political office and other data pertaining thereto shall be permitted up to a total area of nine square feet for each premises in a residential district and 32 square feet in a commercial or industrial district. These signs shall be located only on private property and shall be no less than 15 feet from the nearest edge of the pavement and no less than 100 feet from the nearest curb intersection of any street or road. These signs may be displayed 60 days prior to and seven days after the election for which intended. In cases where a final election follows within 75 days of a primary election, those candidates who won in the primary election may continue to display their signs during the interim period and up to seven days after the final election.

Is it "legal" to have political signs with only a surname?

It is acceptable for candidates to use any combination of their name on a political sign, as long as it appears on their Certificate of Candidacy. For example, John Smith can have signs that say: "Vote for John," "Vote for Smith," or "Vote for John Smith."

I am a candidate for public office. Do I need a State permit to advertise?

No. Political signs do not require a permit, but they may not be placed in the median or within SHA right-of-way, just as other signs are prohibited. Signs may not be posted more than 45 days prior to any election. Unsuccessful candidates in the primary election must remove their signs within 15 days after the primary. All signs must be removed within 15 days after the general election. Political signs are prohibited along interstate highways.

When can I post my campaign signs at polling places?

According to EL § 10-101(a)(3)(iii)(2) campaign signs can be posted at polling places, including Early Voting Centers, at 7:00 pm on the day before election day or the day before early voting starts. All campaign signs must be removed from polling places and Early Voting Centers by 8:00 am the day after election day or the day after early voting ends.

Can I vote in a primary election if I'm not registered with one of the two major parties?

Generally, you must be registered with either the Democratic or Republican party to vote in the primary election. If there are non-partisan offices that are elected in a primary election (i.e., school board), any voter can vote for these offices. Contact your local board of elections for additional information.