By: Beth Mulcahy, Esq.
Election season is here! Generally speaking, community associations cannot prevent members from displaying political signs inside or outside their property, or, in the case of condominiums, on any limited common elements for a member’s unit that touch the unit, other than the roof. An association can place time restrictions on sign display, however, requiring that signs be displayed no sooner than seventy-one days before the date of an election and no later than three days after. A member’s political signs don’t need to be professionally made, and a community association cannot regulate the number of candidates or issues supported or opposed on a member’s political sign. Finally, the association may regulate the size and number of signs a member can place on their property (or, on common element ground in condominiums) only if the association’s regulation is no more restrictive than any applicable city, town, or county ordinance regulating the size and number of political signs. If the city, town or county has no such ordinance, then the association cannot limit the size and number, but the “maximum aggregate total dimensions” of political signs on a member’s property cannot exceed nine square feet.
Community associations can also not prohibit door-to-door political activity, such as individuals seeking support for or opposition to particular candidates or ballot issues, or circulating petitions. An association can restrict door-to-door political activity from sunset to sunrise, though, and may require that canvassers wear identification that shows that person’s name and the candidate or ballot issue the individual is supporting or opposing. Associations are not required to allow door-to-door political activity if the association restricts vehicular or pedestrian access, and associations are not required to make their common elements that are normally open to visitors (other than roadways or sidewalks) available for the circulation of petitions to anyone who is not an owner or resident of the community.
If you have questions and need answers on this topic, please contact Beth Mulcahy, Esq. at 602.241.1093 or firstname.lastname@example.org.