Writer examines election signs

Editor, The Record:

Have you ever considered the impact of election signs, and what they can tell you about the candidates running?

As a former municipal politician, I’ve made a study of election signage over the years, and find it interesting as to the message they convey.

First, there’s the choice of colour, next the size of the sign, then the copy used, fourthly, the timing of their placement and finally the location where they’re posted.

Commenting on these five points, starting with color; invariably, the two colours most used each election are red and blue, with currently blue having the edge in Mission.

As to the size and the message conveyed, there are many factors involved. The larger the sign the more the cost. Some candidates try to dominate with larger signs, while the majority run a multitude of smaller ones. Is the layout, simple and bold, or cluttered with too much copy. Strange, you’ll rarely see a positive slogan used or photo, just the name, with or without the first name and words like; “vote, elect or re-elect me” Sign patrols are done to check for damaged or missing signs to be replaced.

As to timing, many candidates like to get their signs up first, to draw immediate attention to their name. Some believe in placing their signage later for better visual registration and others reinforce their names, doubling their posting, as the election day draws near.

Finally locations, this one can be very revealing about the candidate, whether they want to lead or follow. Case in point are the huge number of signs that collect at major traffic intersections, where no one really stands out, obliterated by the montage of so many signs, large and small, jammed together. A good example is the northeast corner of Cedar and the Lougheed Highway. Most candidates, instead of placing their signs alone, so they stand out with no competition nearby, place a sign next to their competitor.

Those up for reelection, believing their past record and identity is enough, may choose to run no signs, hoping the public who can’t stand sign pollution, will vote for them, as has successfully happened in the past.

Remember, what you see and what you may or may not get, will be eventually determined by your vote or lack of it.

Granted, signs are helpful, but the real criteria for any candidate to win, is what they stand for, what they propose and how they’re seen in the community as a respected person.

Wilf Ray,