In two weeks the state of Indiana will have a primary in which voters can decide who will be on the November ballot and decide a variety of other elective offices and issues. Unfortunately one thing has not changed in this internet, non paper based age. The proliferation of political yard signs posted in every vacant piece of land seems to have increased.
As the above photo shows, no I wasn't driving and taking photos at the same time, the yard signs of politicians have mysteriously sprouted up cluttering every vacant landscape with small and huge signs touting the name of the politician and the office they are seeking election to. Some signs are clustered together tightly. Some stand in solitude, a lonely testament to the American political process. A process which for several weeks allows landscapes to be littered with no apparent concern regarding how the signs spoil the natural environment.
If it was trash being thrown on the ground, well maybe some of the signs fall into that category, fines would be issued and people prosecuted. But because these trash stapled to a wooden stake signs somehow support the electoral process, they are tolerated. But how exactly do these signs help to gather votes for candidates? Well, the signs publicize the name of the candidate/litterbug seeking election. The signs also tout that you should vote yes or no for a local issue. The signs don't say why you should vote for an issue or a person so maybe the reasons are irrelevant?
The signs are kind of colorful. They sometimes elicit a response from those who see them. Some people tear the signs down because they do not like the candidate or the stand a sign may take on an issue. So in that respect the signs support exercise and a release of built up tensions. But stealing or tearing down signs also costs the candidate money. So if you tear a sign down at least mail a few dollars to the candidate to compensate them for their loss!
But back to the question. What do these signs do to enhance the chances of victory for a candidate or a cause? I think they do nothing except help us recall the name. Especially on election day. As you walk up into your polling area, signs are on each side of the sidewalk to the point where you marvel at the number of signs able to be posted in a small area.
Then what happens to all these signs after the election? Are they recycled to save 8-9 trees? If not it seems a waste of poster board. If not yard signs then what? Well, can you imagine being bombarded with unwanted political emails and political advertisements popping up in all the apps we use? That would be a positive as our smart phones would be disabled by the sheer volume of political ads and we would actually have to talk to each other more.
As you make your drive around your town, safely count the number of yard signs you see.