PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. (7News) — Its hard to miss them. At seemingly every major intersection in Prince George’s County there are campaign signs, large and small. Candidates for every office from Governor to County Council and school board looking for votes and name recognition.
More than in most other Maryland jurisdictions, election years bring billboards and placards to Prince George’s and this year, it seems, there are more signs than ever competing for the attention of distracted drivers. The results are mixed.
“I honestly don’t pay that much attention to them,” says one driver. “They’re just posted up everywhere. I see them at stoplights and food places.”
There are so many, 7News did a little digging and found many if not most of these signs are placed illegally. The Prince George’s County Code is clear: signs must be 10 feet behind the street line and at least 50 feet from the nearest corner of any street intersection. The rules for state roadways are even more clear. According to a statement, the State Highway Administration prohibits signs on the SHA right of way because they pose maintenance, sight line and other safety hazards. And yet there are signs just off the pavement along route 50 near Bowie and in Largo along 202. Every sign placed in a median strip is illegal.
One candidate not wanting to be identified tells 7News she knows it’s not right but has to compete with opponents. Voters say they have mixed feelings. Some say they actually like to see the signs, names and pictures leading up to the election. But some are concerned that the campaigns ignore the law.
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“Yeah it matters,” says one woman. “You can’t do things illegally and try to get elected into office.”
7News reaching out to several campaigns for comment. So far none have responded. We’ve also asked the county why they aren’t enforcing their own codes. There has been no official response yet. This story will be updated when and if they do.