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Memo to candidates: Clean up your signs

November 7, 2012
Salem News

Memo to all candidates in Tuesday's elections: Clean up your signs. Pronto. We've seen enough of them. Especially those "strategically" placed at busy intersections, There are enough driving distractions out there to begin with.

Signs were placed by the hundreds around our area in support of political candidates and issues. Even though Salem did not have any city-related elections going on this time around, signs are aplenty throughout town.

While we share some of the distaste many local residents have about political signs, they are proof of the health of our system of government, and of the First Amendment -freedom of speech - to our Constitution. Hard-fought campaigns for office are part of what makes our nation great.

But the shelf life of the latest batch of political signs ended yesterday evening with the closing of the polls. Leaving the signs in place after an election amounts to no more than littering. As it seems every election season, there are at least a few candidates, whether they win or lose, who don't seem to worry about removing their promotional signs.

And shame on anyone who prior to the election went around removing or destroying signs. Sometimes it's just punks being punks, committing random acts of vandalism. Other times it could be opposition to a certain candidate or issue. We were told of such an instance in Salem. In any event, political signs should not be left in place more than a few days tops after the election.

Removing one's campaign signs promptly after an election is a demonstration of responsibility. Leaving them in place for weeks or months is a signal of irresponsibility, on the other hand - and should be avoided.

And let's hope those ceaseless direct mail political campaign pieces we received seemingly by the ton each and every day - did anyone out there actually read each one received? - all end up being recycled and not crammed into landfills. After all, candidates are going to need at least that much more paper come next election campaign season.



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