With fall 2020 comes another presidential election cycle, making political signs an especially timely topic this year. To assist the board in supporting its community fairly and with empathy this election season, we’re going to cover the kinds of political signs that are protected by Texas and Arizona law and how community associations may regulate them under state law.
Protected Political Signs
Each state has its own specific laws that determine which political signs are protected. In Arizona, HOAs must allow homeowners to display political signs on their lots beginning 71 days before election day and until 3 days after the election, unless local regulations provide for a longer period of time (A.R.S. § 33-1808).
In Texas, HOAs must allow homeowners to display political signs relevant to the current election beginning 90 days before the election and up until 10 days after the election (Texas Election Code § 259.002). Protected signs must feature either a candidate who is up for election or an issue that will be on the ballot.
Regulation of Political Signs by HOAs
Laws that regulate political signs also vary by state. In Arizona, HOAs may regulate the number of political signs a homeowner can have on their property (provided that there is a local ordinance that regulates the number of political signs allowed on residential property), as well as the sizes of these signs (A.R.S. § 33-1808). However, the HOA’s regulations cannot be more restrictive than any local sign ordinance or contradict state laws protecting political signs.
According to the Texas Election Code § 259.002, HOAs are permitted to limit homeowners to one sign for each ballot item or candidate and may require that political signs be mounted in the ground. Additionally, the HOA may disallow political signs that:
- contain roofing material, siding, paving material, plants, balloons, lights, and other such materials;
- are attached to plants, traffic signs or devices, lights, trailers, vehicles, or other similar structures or objects;
- are painted onto architectural surfaces;
- threaten public health or safety;
- are larger than four feet by six feet;
- violate the law;
- are offensive to ordinary persons (such as through their language or images); or
- are distracting to drivers (such as through music, streamers, or noise).
While HOAs may regulate these items under state law, HOAs should be aware that they still need to have or adopt rules concerning political signs to make such sign regulations enforceable.
We hope this information helps guide your board’s decisions while you support your homeowners’ patriotism and encourage a unified aesthetic for your community.