Monday was the first day that the elections officer said candidates in the New Westminster civic election could post promotional signs.
And it only took a few hours for somebody to violate the law.
When you post your signs, you must do it on private property and one candidate posted it on city land at the side of a street. I’m not going to name the candidate because, frankly, it’s not the end of the world and I’m not trying to shame anyone – especially people who are new to this whole political thing.
But rules are rules and I’m hoping people smarten up and stay within those rules for the duration of the campaign.
Incumbent New West city councillor Patrick Johnstone even tweeted out a handy photo (see it at the top of the post) showing people where they are allowed to put their election signs. You can’t put them on utility poles or transit stops or garbage cans (although I would appreciate the connection) or parking meters or in public parks.
Please. Read. And. Follow. The. Rules.
In the old days (for me, that’s the ‘90s) it was the Wild West for election signs in many cities. I can recall some ginormous signs posted on the corners of busy intersections, making them look slightly more subtle than the advertising in Times Square. Some candidates love posting scores of gaudy signs with their names in huge letters (some egos need soothing).
I read up on the sign law on the New West city website and under 11.6.2 it says the “sign area shall not exceed 3.0 square metres.) That still seems pretty big so we’ll see if anyone pushes the envelope.
One question I’ve always had is if these signs actually make any difference in securing votes. Candidates seem to spend a lot of money on signs, but do they really work?
No offence to candidates, but I hope they don’t because that would mean people make vital decisions based on name recognition or if they like the face that is sometimes emblazoned on an election sign. I don’t want people going into the voting booth and thinking, “oh yeah, I remember that name on the sign I see every day on my way to Starbucks” or “she looks trustworthy in her photo.”
That would be really depressing.
I asked Johnstone about it and he responded with this: “I have my own opinions about signs. Like tonsil removal: No one likes it, it is a big hassle, apparently you have to do it, no one is really clear if it serves a purpose.”
Oh, and one final note. According to the law, signs must be removed within 14 days of the election. Please feel free to ignore that rule and take the signs down (much, much) earlier.
How does Oct. 21 sound?
Follow Chris Campbell @shinebox44