John Atkinson of Kings Grant recently placed four hand-painted campaign signs reading "Anybody but Larry" along Dorchester Road, right under larger ones for state House candidate Larry Hargett.

They lasted less than a day.

That's not unusual this time of year. Campaign signs -- like those for yard sales, pressure washing and what have you -- aren't allowed in the public right of way but frequently get planted there anyway.

And they often vanish just as frequently, not just at the hands of rival campaigns but often at the hands of local government employees.

Enforcement of illegal signs varies widely from locale to locale, and campaign operatives often figure that even if their sign only remains up a few days, it could pay off if enough passing motorists notice it.

Summerville, Mount Pleasant and Charleston have different policies for removing signs in the right of way. The city of North Charleston does not, though a few council members think it should.

Jim Feda, director of maintenance with the state Department of Transportation, said no signs may be placed in the state right of way, but his crews only remove them if they pose a danger to motorists' sight lines or if they're in the way of a lawn mower.

"We don't go looking for them," Feda said. "In an election year, we could be out there 24/7 picking up illegal signs. That's all we would be doing."

With the state throwing up its hands, local governments often step in.

Read more in tomorrow's Post and Courier.