Elections are only five months away and considering current events around the country, they are bound to be dramatic at the least. It seems now, more than ever, citizens have very strong opinions about political leaders, issues, and ballot measures, all of which we are likely to see during the 2020 elections. What does this mean for community associations? At a minimum we predict associations will experience an onslaught of political signs this year – more so than usual. And emotions concerning these signs will run high. This begs the question of whether your community is ready for election season.
As many people are aware, political signs are protected in Colorado, which means they cannot be banned by associations. However, the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”) does allow associations to limit and control political signs under certain circumstances, so long as the community has a policy in place taking advantage of these limitations. However, without a policy on this issue, an association will only be able to utilize sign limitations set forth in its governing documents, if any, which may not be applicable to political signs or may not be sufficient to allow a board to truly control political signs to the full extent allowed by CCIOA.
Pursuant to Section 106.5(1)(c) of CCIOA, associations cannot prohibit the display of political signs in their communities. Political signs are defined as signs carrying messages intended to influence the outcome of an election or passage of a ballot issue. Any signs that do not fall within this definition are not protected by CCIOA and may be prohibited.
Additionally, CCIOA authorizes associations to impose limits on political signs through using a policy with the following parameters:
- Political signs may be prohibited from display more than 45 days before an election and may be required to be removed more than seven days after the election.
- Political signs may be prohibited from being displayed on common elements.
- You must allow at least one political sign per ballot issue, but can prohibit more than that.
- You can limit the maximum size of political signs to 36” x 48” or the maximum size allowed by the local municipality, whichever is smaller.
But remember, if your community does not have a political sign policy, you may not be able to control the display of political signs. So make sure you have your policies in place as soon as possible, because elections will be here before we know it!
Please do not hesitate to contact an Altitude Community Law attorney at 303.432.9999 or [email protected] if you have any additional questions about political signs and your association.