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Political Signs Get 15 Days More Days During Election Season

City Commission changes the rule to be compliant with new state election laws, which require absentee ballots to go out 45 days before an election.

Birmingham residents can express their political beliefs a little longer this year, after the City Commission voted to extend the length of time political signs are allowed on residential or commercial properties to 45 days before an election.

Residents used to be allowed to display political yard signs up to 30 days before an election, City Clerk Laura Broski said at the commission's Monday evening meeting.  However, with state election rules changing, the city had to change a few of its own rules to comply.

, Broski told commissioners that the state filing deadline has been pushed back to the 12th Tuesday before an election — as opposed to the seventh Tuesday before. In addition, absentee ballots for local elections will now go out 45 days before an election.

Mayor Gordon Rinschler said changing the yard sign rule was done only in fairness. “If someone’s name is going on the ballot, why wouldn’t they be able to have a sign up?”

The only discussion on the resolution was a comment by Commissioner Tom McDaniel, who inquired whether the commission might want to consider a resolution that controlled the size of political signs.

“With all the clutter out there, they’re becoming bigger and bigger,” McDaniel said. “I think signs going to become more annoying as well.”

Commissioners assigned city staff and City Attorney Tim Currier to look into what the city can do to control sign size. Currier pointed out that the city can regulate some part of political signage — including the "time, date and manner" — though not the content. As to whether the size can be controlled, Currier said it was a “maybe.”

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