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Election signs in Oakville: Things to consider - OpEd

Past HDSB Chair and 2022 Halton Regional Chair candidate Andrea Grebenc adds her comments to Oakville's election sign debate.
Steve Nease
Steve Nease

Burlington does not allow signs on public property, so people with commercial connections get far more sign exposure.

There is also no penalty for putting signs on public property, so unscrupulous candidates will put them up on public property to get exposure until they are removed by the city - which costs the campaign only the cost of a sign.

Big budgets mean signs become disposable in these circumstances.  

In the last election, since I was running regionally, I had to work within four different sign bylaws. My signs went missing or were moved when they could be placed on public property. Signs become a lot of white noise as people drive by.

Candidate exposure is important, though.

Lack of exposure only helps incumbents. If campaign signs are removed as a means of communicating, there must be something substantial to take their place.

Personally, I think actual platforms and information about candidates are way more important than signs which usually consist of a name, the position being sought, and maybe a broad slogan.

Municipalities could put out an election booklet that holds platform and background information for every candidate - this provides inclusion for the less tech-savvy.

Municipalities could also provide a customizable single webpage for each candidate that they could fill out and/or link off of that page to the candidate's website - at least basic information would be there to inform voters.

Candidates for positions like school board trustee have very small budgets, and the position profile itself could be boosted with this sort of tool  

I think we need to start thinking outside of the box.