Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

Put a sign in your yard out of love, not money, says election office

September 12, 2007 at 1:43 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

It may seem that paying residents to place a sign in their yard is similar to taking out an ad on a billboard or advertising in a magazine or newspaper.

But public officials beware. Candidates who offer money to residents to place signs in their yard are breaking the law.

Jacques Berry, press secretary for Louisiana's Election Commission Office, said it's against the law for political candidates to pay someone to put signs up in their yard.

"The election code states you can't give money to vote a certain way or to register and you can't take money from people to vote a certain way or accept money to register to vote," Berry said.

The election rule RS 18:141 says it is illegal to "Offer, promise, solicit, or accept money or anything of present or prospective value to secure or influence a vote or registration of a person."

Berry says that rule applies to candidates trading money for the posting of their signs.

"Candidates who are taking part in paying residents to place signs in their yard are involved in an illegal activity that falls under this code," he said."Our election compliance officers will investigate and turn the information over to the district attorney's office and they will determine the punishment."

Ordinances in St. Charles Parish don't regulate these laws, but they do control the size and location of signs within the parish.

"The code of sign ordinances in St. Charles Parish states that political signs advertising candidates or issues shall not be more than 16 square feet and shall be removed within seven days after a political election," Reese Kinler, spokesman for the parish’s planning and zoning department, said. "All subdivisions have restrictions that either allow or don't allow signs."

Candidates should check the requirements before posting signs during an election. The St. Charles Parish Planning and Zoning Department will confiscate signs, which are found to be placed illegally. You may contact the Planning and Zoning Department at 504-783-5060 to reclaim your signs.

Berry says that to report someone who is illegally paying residents to place signs in their yard, contact the Election Commissioner's Office at (225) 922-0300.

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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