The election has come and gone but that doesn’t mean all those pesky campaign signs have come down.

We decided to ask San Diego city and county officials for more details on the rules.

The response: We shouldn’t see bright-colored, distracting signs as we drive to Grandma’s house for the holiday but workers can’t spot and remove every last one.

In most cases, city code enforcement officers don’t pick up signs unless they get complaints.

Robert Vacchi, a deputy director in the city’s Development Services Department, said the city gives residents and campaign workers about 10 days to remove the signs, meaning those “Carl DeMaio for Mayor” or “Yes on 30” signs should have been hauled off close to Nov. 16.

County officials work on a similar timeline — they prefer campaigns take down signs within two weeks of Election Day.

In the city, staffers mostly rely on callers to alert them to continuing violators. Signs placed near streets or in sidewalk areas get the most complaints.

If the person or campaign responsible for the sign won’t remove it, city staffers may take it down and assess fines. But that scenario is rare, Vacchi said.

Sometimes city code compliance workers just remove signs they come across on the job.

Signs that remain along county roads are treated in a similar fashion.

San Diego County’s sign permits require candidates or volunteers to remove their signs within two weeks of the election but county staffers usually just take the signs down when they encounter them, said Michael Drake, a spokesman for the county.

Both Drake and Vacchi said lingering campaign signs haven’t been too much of a problem this year despite a glut of candidates and ballot propositions.

Still, they encouraged residents to report signs that have worn out their welcome.

To report San Diego violations, call 619.236.5500 and be prepared to provide an address. Reports are taken from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays.

If you spot a pesky sign along a county road, call 858.694.3850 or fill out this online form.

Lisa Halverstadt is a reporter at Voice of San Diego. Know of something she should check out? You can contact her directly at or 619.325.0528.

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Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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