Home › Forums › Ottawa Municipal Election 2018: Comment And Debate › Signs, Signs, Too Many Signs
This topic contains 9 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Ron Benn 1 week ago.
May 16, 2018 at 12:57 PM #750726
At election time, be it federal, provincial or municipal, our city landscape is beset with signs containing the names of candidates who will be running within the various ridings and wards.
Some of these signs are small and generally appear in clusters, some medium-sized, some are large, and a few are enormous. And there are so many. Do candidates who post the most signs feel they are more job-worthy and smarter? This has concerned me for quite some time and when I was in my 20s I decided I would vote for the candidate who placed the fewest signs at the side of the road and on lawns.
I know the knowledgeable readers of The Bulldog are cringing at the fact I wasn’t making an intelligent decision based on the issues at hand but this was many, many years ago and I only voted this way once. As it turned out, the decision was more difficult than I had anticipated because when I went to vote my ballot contained three names I was unfamiliar with – a communist, a member of the Rhino party and an independent candidate.
If memory serves, I think I chose the Rhino candidate. While I don’t object to seeing a few strategically-placed signs at the side of the road, plantations of, say, “I’m Jim Watson vote for me” signs, are visual pollutants. Do I stand alone concerning this issue? If not, is there any way we can adopt legislation to limit the number of signs that are erected?May 16, 2018 at 4:46 PM #750734
Signs are, by their very nature, a distraction. The people who put them up want you to look at the sign. They put signs up where they think people will see them, including along roadways. How does this square with the current push from distracted driving? Do the candidates care? I am sure they’ll get right on it, after the election.May 16, 2018 at 11:51 PM #750770
After I composed my thoughts, I realized that for some people this is an opportunity for them to get their Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame.
Mercifully some of these people don’t get elected and we won’t need to comment about them on The Bulldog. These unknowns quietly fade away much as their signs do once the election is over.May 17, 2018 at 6:03 AM #750777
Perhaps what we need is a limit in either the total number of signs a candidate can put up or a limit in the total square footage of their signs. Then the candidate would have to choose between the available locations to get the most bang for their buck while simultaneously not sullying every inch of the riding/ward with signage. They would have to register their sign locations to ensure they were respecting the limits.
For a well-financed campaign, there are no restraints on plastering signs on any blank space whether that be a piece of earth, a window or the side of a building. Since incumbents have a garage full of signs, as well as funds, from previous runs at office, they can get out early to take over the prime locations. That gives them an unfair advantage over other candidates. I’m not sure how you get around that.
One of the most annoying types of sign display is the use of a series of identical signs for the same candidate placed a few feet apart, usually near a street corner. One candidate slaps up four or five signs on each of the approaches to the corner and, within a day or so, the others have followed suit, often with larger signs. The more prominent the street corner, the larger and more numerous the signs. In one location near me, this invariably means that the sight line from the bus stop is blocked so you can’t see anything coming. In some places, there are so many signs that it’s virtually impossible to read any of them.
On second thought, let’s abolish election signs altogether! What purpose do they serve anyway? They don’t contain enough information to help you choose who you’ll vote for. Some people see lawn signs as an indication of the support in the community for a candidate. What they aren’t factoring in is that people will tell the first person who asks that they can put up a sign since it means that others will then leave them alone. It has nothing to do with their voting intentions. With a secret ballot, I can tell the canvassers anything and they have no way of knowing if it’s how I will vote. If someone were wavering in the decision and the old curmudgeon down the block puts up a sign for Candidate/Party X, it could send some people into the arms of Candidate/Party Y.May 17, 2018 at 7:53 AM #750784
In 2014 one of the candidates who ran in Osgoode ward told the throngs he would place 10 signs only. They were all large, home-made, and mostly appeared in farm fields. Locating the signs was sort of like a game for me. Each time I saw on I thought “aha, there’s another one”. I never did find all 10 but of note, the candidate finished second in the ward in voting.May 17, 2018 at 9:55 AM #750804
Ron BennMay 17, 2018 at 10:05 AM #750810May 17, 2018 at 10:49 PM #750821May 17, 2018 at 10:49 PM #750820
The VoterMay 18, 2018 at 11:13 AM #750846