August 06, 2006

THE ISSUE: -- Suddenly, they're everywhere. Do campaign signs simply clutter the side of roadways, or do they serve a purpose?

Political signs are purposeful clutter

They do both. Candidates have a need to get their names before the electorate and, as a voter, I want to know the names of the candidates and the offices they are seeking. Campaign signs are just one means of accomplishing this. Furthermore, demonstrating support for my favorite candidate with a campaign sign on my property ought to be a right I enjoy.

At the same time, campaign signs are an eyesore. All roadside signs are. Whether you're selling real estate, painting services, or District 5, roadside signs - particularly the small, disposable ones - are nothing more than vertical spam tantamount to litter.

My old hometown in Michigan had a city ordinance requiring that candidates remove their old campaign signs from the public roadways 24 hours following an election, or face financial penalties. For the most part, it worked. Candidates should be free to advertise. But two seconds after polls close, campaign signs become trash. Candidates and their supporters should be held responsible for cleaning up after themselves.

Kem White Woodstock

Placards are a waste of campaign funds

Campaign signs are mainly clutter and serve no purpose for the candidate other than to waste campaign funds. If the candidate must rely on a sign in someone's yard to earn votes, he is in deep trouble, as there are myriad other venues to get the candidate's message to the voters. And, if a voter makes a decision based on a campaign sign, that voter is poorly prepared to participate in an election.

What the signs do is provide information about those in whose yards the signs are on display. It is revealing to see who my neighbors support, and to show that, at least in my neighborhood, we are much more "red" or "purple" than "blue."

Doug Dribben Woodstock

Signs are a form of free speech

I support campaign signs. I also enjoy and appreciate freedom of speech in promoting favored candidates for the upcoming election.

We need more people to get involved in selecting and promoting candidates, and signs are an easy way to do that. In Howard County many of our County Council seats and Board of Education positions will be new this year. It is very important for people to get involved and informed so that they make good choices for our community and take advantage of the fact that they can have a voice in their community.

Signs are just one way of obtaining that goal.

Jessica Pearsall Ellicott City

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