WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – As you’ve noticed by now, Westchester County roads, sidewalks and lawns have been showered with political signs since September.
After Election Day on Tuesday they will all become obsolete, whether it’s in victory or defeat.
So, what happens to them after Nov. 5?
It depends on where the sign is.
All Westchester municipalities implement their own political sign protocol. While most towns, villages and cities share similar sign processes, the technicalities vary. Most municipalities, including Bedford and Ossining, allow signs to first be put up 30 days before an election.
“We’ll put up the signs 30 days before the race and have made a pledge to take them down within 24 hours after its conclusion,” said Campaign Manager Luke Vander Linden of Your Bedford, which is the Republican slate of Bedford candidates.
The biggest similarity might be that in any case, the responsibility of taking signs down falls directly on whomever put them up in the first place. The public sign law of “Right Of Way” (ROW) is also implemented throughout the county all year round, no matter what kind of sign it is.
“Ultimately, the people who put them up are responsible for taking them down,” New Castle Town Planner Sabrina Charney Hull said. “If they are on town property or within the ROW, the Code Enforcement Officer will remove them and throw them away.”
The same understanding is in place in Greenburgh at the moment, but the town is also looking into creating its own political sign legislature.
"Candidate are responsible for sign cleanup," Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said. "There is no deadline, but I brought sign posting regulations up with the town board and the Edgemont Community Council. I have postponed any legislative initiatives until after they provide us with their recommendations."
Some municipalities, such as North Salem, already have such regulations in place.
“Our law passed a couple of years ago,” Town Supervisor Warren Lucas said. “It allows signs to go up 10 days before an election. They need to be removed by three days after. The political folks take them down. Occasionally we will have some left that we take down ourselves.”
In Peekskill there are “no laws geared toward erecting and dismantling campaign signs,” Peekskill city spokesman Bob Knight said. For New Rochelle, according to its city code, campaign signs need to be removed by the owner of the premises within seven days of the election or race’s conclusion.
Several municipalities, including Harrison, rely on tradition to make sure signs are put up and taken down in an orderly fashion.
“We do not have code regarding election signs. Tradition has mandated that they be taken down within a week,” Town Clerk Jackie Greer said. “Mayor Belmont had his taken down prior to 4 p.m. the day after the last election.”
As for what happens to the signs after they’re taken down, most municipalities try to find ways to reuse signs for other events. Vander Linden said Your Bedford’s campaign made sure the signs they ordered were recyclable.
“That was a very important part of our campaign,” he said. “We used a company called Victory Store. And they make different kinds of signs -- corrugated plastic like we got, but also polybag and coated cardboard. This way the town can recycle them or paint over them and use them for another event.”
Sam Barron, Casey Donahue, Danny LoPriore and Suzanne Samin contributed to this report.