Signs that display messages for candidates for office, ballot measures, or general political topics and opinions can generally be placed along the primary highway system without securing an outdoor advertising permit. There are some restrictions, however, as follows:
- The sign must not be placed within the public right-of-way for a primary highway. Signs placed within the public right-of-way are subject to removal with, or without prior notice, served to the owner, depending upon the sign’s proximity to the highway. Iowa Code chapter 318 contains further details for the removal of signs from the public right-of-way.
- Permission must be received from a property owner before a sign is placed.
- Payment or compensation should not be made to the property owner for the placement. If payment or compensation of any kind is involved in the placement, and the sign is visible to a primary highway, an outdoor advertising permit may be required in accordance with Iowa Code chapter 306C and Iowa Administrative Code 761 IAC 117.
- The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Office has additional restrictions contained in Iowa Code section 68A.406. For example, campaign signs may not be placed within 300 feet of a polling booth. For complete details see https://ethics.iowa.gov/campaign-signs.