Can You Use Old Campaign Signs That Don’t Comply With New Disclaimer Laws?

Many jurisdictions across Arizona are holding local elections this November, so campaign signs are increasingly common on neighborhood street corners. But if those campaign signs are being reused from past elections, they might not be in compliance with new laws requiring more fulsome advertising disclaimers.

In 2016, the Arizona Legislature passed a new law requiring that campaign signs contain a “paid for” disclaimer that “shall be displayed in a height that is at least four percent of the vertical height of the sign.”  Think of the law as requiring the “paid for” disclaimer to be visible from the street, not just up close.

Here is an example of a campaign sign in northwest Phoenix that isn’t quite up to the new standard:

A 1-inch disclaimer on a 48-inch sign represents a 2% vertical height, half the requisite height.  Moreover, this particular disclaimer lacks the requisite statement disclosing whether the advertisement “was authorized by any candidate”:

A good argument can be made that signs created prior to the disclaimer law’s effective date (November 2016) should be grandfathered in. But at minimum, committees should take a second look at their campaign signs before the 2020 cycle heats up.


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