Rules for political signs explained

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 - 1:31pm

The 2024 primary election is Tuesday, March 5. Early voting begins Thursday, Feb. 15, and continues through Saturday, March 2, at the Northern Regional Center, 350 E. Holding Ave., and 12 other locations throughout Wake County.

The Town of Wake Forest often receives inquiries from residents and candidates concerning rules for political signs. Although temporary political signs advertising candidates or issues are permitted, a combination of state law and municipal code regulates how political signs may be displayed within Wake Forest. To ensure these conditions are met, adherence is required to the following regulations establishing the duration, size, placement, and illumination of political signs:


  • Private Property – can be installed now with prior permission of the owner.

  • State Roads – can be installed no earlier than 30 days before the February 15 in-person early voting date (January 16).

  • Political signs must be removed by Friday, March 15, 2024 - within 10 days after the election. 


  • Cannot obscure motorist visibility. 

  • Cannot be installed on trees, bridges, utility poles, or the like. 

  • Cannot be installed in Town road right-of-way. 

  • Can be installed in NCDOT road right-way if: 

    • The sign is no closer than three feet from the edge of the pavement. 

    • The sign does not obscure or replace another sign. 

  • Cannot be placed on public property (e.g., Town Hall, Joyner Park, etc.).  


  • If within NCDOT right-of-way:

    • Cannot be larger than 864 square inches (e.g., 3 feet by 2 feet)

    • Cannot be taller than 42 inches, above the edge of the pavement of the road.

  • On private property:

    • Cannot be larger than 4 square feet (e.g., 2 feet by 2 feet)

    • Cannot be taller than 48 inches, measured at the adjacent ground level.


  • Cannot be illuminated.  

Thank you in advance for your cooperation in ensuring your campaign workers are aware of these regulations.

Please be advised that the Town will remove signs and issue notice of violations for signs that do not comply with law. Our goal is to be fair and impartial in administering these rules.

Finally, the public is reminded that anyone who knowingly removes, alters, or defaces a campaign sign is guilty of a crime. It is a misdemeanor for a person to steal, deface, vandalize, or unlawfully remove a political sign that is lawfully placed. 

For more information, contact Zoning Enforcement Officer Ben Coleman at 919-435-9541 or [email protected].

For complete information about the March 5 primary, visit the Wake County Board of Elections website at