Editorial: Everywhere a sign

Are elections signs really a good idea?

Election season means signs are springing up all over the south Island.

They’ve got a long history as a campaign tool, but few that would disagree the proliferation of brightly-coloured signs is, at best, unsightly.

The question is, do they do any good? They don’t contain any statement about what the candidate stands for, just a name and a plea for a vote. It’s supposed to build name recognition so that when an elector goes to check boxes, they will remember the name, if nothing else.

And if one sign does that for you, how much better is it to put out half a dozen in a row, and then repeat that on every piece of open public land you can find. And like Pepsi and Coke, the more of your own signs you can get out, the less room there is for competitors.

As a democratic ideal, that idea sucks. The last thing any democracy needs is someone casting a vote because they saw a name on lots of signs and liked it. And while the branding effect might work in federal — or even provincial — elections, where the candidate is farther removed from the voters, the people running in municipal elections are friends, neighbours and business people, often already well-known.

What we really need, to support a higher level of democracy, is more educated voters getting out to the polls to cast their ballots. Instead of spending money on election signs, both creating and distributing, wouldn’t it be better if candidates put that money to use educating people about the issues, and helping get them to the polls?

It does make electors feel good, that they are somehow supporting their candidate by putting out a sign. How many, though, are satisfied by this small action, then don’t actually get out to cast a vote?

Just Posted

Victoria city councillors advocate for better measures to reduce sexual violence in downtown bars

A motion coming to council this week asks for more action from liquor establishments

Downtown Victoria businesses cite parking issues as top challenge

A report put forward by the Downtown Victoria Business Association asked owners for input

Pair of Saanich fires, including one that resulted in a death, remain under investigation

Saanich Fire expect to wrap up investigation into Richmond Road Tuesday

Wind gusts turn away cruise ships from Victoria harbour

Weather conditions make docking difficult for large ships

Tips from BC Ferries for travelling this Canada Day long weekend

Tips from BC Ferries for smooth sailing this Canada Day long weekend

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Two bear cubs saved near Revelstoke after mother hit by car

Conservation officers trapped the cubs and transported them to a wildlife sanctuary

Heroism medal for B.C. woman who tried to save wheelchair-bound man stuck on rail tracks

Julie Callaghan awarded Carnegie Medal from U.S.-based foundation for ‘extraordinary heroism’

Most Read