WESTPORT — ’Tis the season.

The political season is hitting its post-Labor Day stride with Nov. 7 balloting for municipal offices now less than two months away.

On Monday, police issued a warning about one of the complaints they typically receive during the run-up to Election Day — the vandalism and theft of candidate and political party signs.

In a statement, police said private citizens who remove political signs from public or private properties could face charges of theft or trespassing — or both.

Political signs are considered an expression of free speech, police said, and are allowed on town property if they conform with rules for temporary signs.

However, the town’s rules do not apply to state-maintained roads, such as Routes 1, 33, 57 and 136, the Sherwood Island Connector and interchange ramps for Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway. Any signs placed there are subject to removal by the state.

Local guidelines that apply to all temporary signs, political or otherwise, on town property include:

  • Town property includes traffic islands and road rights-of-way.
  • Signs cannot be placed on any school property without permission of the Superintendent’s Office.
  • Signs are not allowed within Compo Beach or Longshore Club Park.
  • No sign may be placed on Town Hall property.
  • Signs cannot be attached to trees or utility poles.
  • Signs that interfere with traffic visibility will be removed.
  • Signs on private property require the owner’s approval. These signs cannot extend beyond the property line or into the town right-of-way, and police said it is recommended they be removed within two days after the publicized event or election.