With primary elections coming up next month, Sumter County is trying to resolve a conflict between a county ordinance and state law regarding the placement of campaign signs.
The county ordinance bans campaign signs on county property. But a state law enacted last year says property owners where a polling place is located may not ban campaign signs except within 150 feet of the polling place.
County properties used as polling places include the Sumter County Service Center on Powell Road and the Sumter County Courthouse in Bushnell.
During previous elections, people wore sandwich boards or displayed temporary signs on the Sumter County properties, but did not place the signs in the ground, city attorney Jennifer C. Roy wrote in a memo to Laurel Lee, secretary of state for the Bureau of Elections.
“May Sumter County enforce its local ordinance prohibiting persons from erecting or displaying any private sign or temporary display on property owned by the county or controlled by the county when property is used as a polling place or early voting site,” Roy asked in the letter. “One could be outside the 150 foot no solicitation zone, still remain on county property and be subject to the county sign ordinance.”
Roy requested an advisory opinion on behalf of William Keen, Sumter County supervisor of elections.