Every election season, lawn signs serve as the mock combat area of political campaigns. The newspaper and law enforcement receive complaints from citizens because vandals have stolen or destroyed the signs of one candidate or another, and sometimes even damage the property of the resident who dares post a sign.
This isn’t as it should be, and we don’t recommend vandalism on any front, let alone of political campaign lawn signs.
Instead, we encourage citizens to maintain a little perspective, understanding that if counting lawn signs and voting for the candidate who has the most is the citizen’s criteria for election, the citizen may want to reflect on how election lawn signs contribute to meaningful dialog about public policy.
Elections don’t turn on the lawn sign wars. They turn on the personal characteristics and policy positions of the various candidates.
State law is fairly clear about when campaign lawn signs can be posted. The law says that signs may be erected from 46 days before the primary election until 10 days after the general election. State law also applies to local elections.
This year, the primary will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 12, and the general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 4. That means that campaign signs may be posted from Friday, June 27, until Friday, Nov. 14. In case you haven’t noticed, supporters of some county sheriff candidates have jumped the gun. All candidates ought to rein in their supporters to comply with the law, but especially those candidates for the office of chief law enforcement officer.
That said, this is an area where the Legislature may want to amend the law. The filing period ended on June 3 for those offices in which primary elections are held. Once the filing period ends, in reality the campaign begins. We would urge the Legislature to extend lawn sign season so that it begins the day after the filing period closes. To delay it not only gives unfair advantage to incumbents, but also tempts supporters — unnecessarily we think — to break the law by posting them too early.