We recently posted about a recent Facebook group conversation from a neighborhood watch group for Brewer where members were commenting about their missing political signs.  There seemed to be no political bias, since both Trump, Biden and Gideon signs are all missing in various neighborhoods in Brewer, as discussed in the Facebook group conversation.

We've also have seen in local news of central Maine dealing with signs going missing as well, as is the case in Hallowell and, specifically, a 'Black Lives Matter' sign.

It can be assumed that political signs and other signs sharing opinion about current issues could be the targets of sign thieves.  But, there could be legal reasons why signs are being taken down.

Maine State Law has statutes about how and where signs can and can not go as well as when political signs can be placed. In a more recent update, Maine statutes were broadened from 'political signs' to 'temporary signs' with limitations of when and where these signs can can lawfully be in place.

Here are a few reasons why your sign could have been taken down per Maine statutes:

1.  It's been near the road for too long

In the Maine statute regarding lawful sign showing, you are allowed to have your temporary sign (political or otherwise) near the road, or 'within the public right-of-way' for a total of 3 months per year.

From Title 23, §1913-A, 1, L: 

The following signs may be erected and maintained within the public right-of-way without license or permit as long as they conform to applicable provisions of this Title and rules adopted pursuant to this Title:

Temporary signs placed within the public right-of-way for a maximum of 12 weeks per calendar year.

2. It's too close to another sign with a similar message

If you have two temporary signs within 30 feet of each other and they have similar messaging, that could be a reason why a sign has suddenly gone missing.

From Title 23, §1913-A, 1, L: 

The following signs may be erected and maintained within the public right-of-way without license or permit as long as they conform to applicable provisions of this Title and rules adopted pursuant to this Title:

A temporary sign may not be placed within 30 feet of another temporary sign bearing the same or substantially the same message.

3. Your sign is too big

Being near a right-of-way means little distraction is expected of your signs.  So, if your sign is bigger than 4-feet by 8-feet in size it will be deemed too big and unlawful under Maine statue laws.

From Title 23, §1913-A, 1, L: 

The following signs may be erected and maintained within the public right-of-way without license or permit as long as they conform to applicable provisions of this Title and rules adopted pursuant to this Title:

A temporary sign may not exceed 4 feet by 8 feet in size. 

4. Your sign has no owner

A temporary sign must have a name and address of an individual, group or organization that placed the sign near the public right-of-way, plus the date it was put up.  If not, then your sign might be removed and lawfully so.

From Title 23, §1913-A, 1, L: 

The following signs may be erected and maintained within the public right-of-way without license or permit as long as they conform to applicable provisions of this Title and rules adopted pursuant to this Title:

A sign under this paragraph must include or be marked with the name and address of the individual, entity or organization that placed the sign within the public right-of-way and the date the sign was erected within the public right-of-way.

 

Additionally, you should check with your respective municipality to see if your town or city may have additional rules that could cause your sign to be removed.  For instance, the town of Brewer ordinance's state that signs and posters containing political messages for an election can not be placed within any public right-of-way 6 weeks before the election and taken down a week after the election.  This is a far shorter amount of time than the State's statute of 3 months.

But if your sign is within these statutes and local ordinances and taken unlawfully, that would be a civil violation in the State of Maine and would result with a fine of up to $250.