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‘Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.’


"Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind"

It’s finally Nov. 2. Since I’m a registered permanent early voter, the fate of the candidates as far as my lone vote is concerned was determined a couple weeks ago.

But something is still really bugging me.

Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?

What’s it going to take to make these signs go away — not just until the next election, but for good? The 1970s classic from the Five Man Electrical Band seems to be my constant theme song.

I’ve been voting now for more than 25 years and I have never been influenced by a candidate’s sign. (Okay, not entirely true; I once didn’t vote for a candidate whose sign photo bore a strong resemblance to Jeffrey Dahmer.)

Nearly every day for months I’ve had to pass this...

Even after today, it’s not really over. The candidates legally have 10 more days to remove the signs. But if history repeats, many of the signs will linger well after that deadline. And what really happens to all those signs when they’re removed?

Reused? Originally I planned to share some ideas for ways to use leftover signs. Hmmm. They can be reused as … signs. For yard sales. But how many of those does the average household need in a year? I’m sure there are plenty of creative people who could come up with other things, like making them into birdhouses. But that’s not the point.

Recycled? I read this online: “Many residential recycling programs will take all or part of the signs for recycling. Check with your local recycling program to see what can be recycled and how best to do it.”

So I called the City of Mesa to see what they would recycle. The reply? “Our recycling contractor accepts less than 20 percent of election sign material. Your best bet is just to throw them in the trash.”

Last week I spoke to the general manager of Plastics General Polymers in Tempe, a company that recycled election signs in 2008. He told me they might be accepting signs again this year and would call me back. Still waiting for that callNov. 8 update: Just heard back. They won’t be recycling the signs this year because, “it’s just too much to deal with.” Bummer. But can’t say that I blame him.

So what’s the real solution?

Reduce – or get rid of them altogether. Although reusing and recycling might make a tiny dent, the system is broken. Until the candidates themselves commit to reducing the number of signs, or better yet eliminating them altogether, we’re stuck. So to me it seems the best bet is to return the signs directly to the candidate’s office. If they get enough of them back, who knows?

I’m open to suggestions…

Then again, there’s always this:

Officers at the Chatham County Sheriff's Department in Savannah, Georgia, use election signs for target practice.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rebecca Collier permalink
    11/02 8:56 AM

    Hilarious Jen – love your points of views…always “right” on! :)

    Funny story about these annoying signs – courtesy of our dear friends Chris and Amanda Rogers. Point of story is that the signs have an impact, but does it make a difference? Read on.

    Amanda was driving her 12-year old son and his 12- to 13-year old cousin (boy) around a while ago in the East Valley – kids are in the backseat. From the front seat, Amanda hears her son ask his cousin, “Hey, who is John Hoop-in-thale?” The cousin (with his sweet lisp) responds “I don’t know, but his daughters are HOT!” Future of America being swayed already! So, lesson is, “If you are going to put up a sign and want the votes of the ‘under-aged,’ and have ‘hot’ daughters, include them on your sign…” HA HA!

    • Jennifer permalink*
      11/02 9:01 AM

      SO funny, Bec — thanks for sharing that gem. Sad, but true…

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