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Wed May 30, 2012
Campaign signs to diminish, but not go away completely
By June 9, the sightline along Northeast Texans roadways will be a little clearer, as campaign signs are to be removed by candidates who were seeking office in Tuesday’s primary.
The overabundance of signs is nothing new around election time, with candidates allowed as early as 90 days before the event to post signs, as long as they follow a few simple rules. No signs are placed on or within public right of way such as on trees, telephone poles and traffic signs. With the owner’s permission, campaign signs can be placed on private property, but must be made of lightweight material and be no larger than 50 square feet. And after the election, signs must be removed within 10 days.
Rosa Leon is with the Texas Department of Transportation Office of Outdoor Advertising. She says the only signs that can remain up over the next few weeks are those of candidates in the July 31 runoff.
“Most of the people that I’ve spoken to said the runoff elections are 60 days from now. So then the rule would obviously be OK, they can leave them up, but they still have to have them down ten days after the election,” Leon said.
There are six local runoff elections in July, after a single candidate failed to receive more than 50 percent of the vote in his/her race. So races that consisted of three or four candidates are now down to two, with the top two-getters advancing.
Kent Layton is among a majority of Tuesday’s candidates who won their race outright in the Republican Party primary, as there is no democratic or independent challenger in the November general election. The Precinct 4 Constable says he has 225 signs to pull up from around Hunt County.
“I’ll probably start Thursday afternoon, and just start a little bit at a time,” Layton said. “If people call me and let me know they’re there or if I forget one or whatever I’ll go get them. But I think I can find most of them.”
Sign size can vary. Lamar County Precinct 5 Justice of the Peace Cindy Cooper Ruthart, who was re-elected Tuesday, says she ordered about 235 signs of different sizes, the biggest being 4’ X 6’.
Ruthart admits the sooner the signs come out the better it is for citizens.
“I would like to get them up as soon as possible. People are tired of them. I’m tired of them. It’s been a long election,” Ruthart said.
Depending on the size of a sign and if you choose to buy in bulk, signs costs generally won’t break the campaign budget.
Dawn Stewart, who will serve another term as Delta County Tax Assessor-Collector after her victory Tuesday, says she spent just under $300 on about 50 small yard signs. Another $300 was spent on 12 of the 3’ X 5’ signs, Stewart says.
So by June 9, you should only see signs for the 12 remaining candidates participating in six Northeast Texas runoff elections. Four of the July 31 contests are in Hunt County, with one in Rains and the other in Fannin County.
But with the general election set for November 6, that means candidates seeking votes this fall can begin to place campaign signs as early as August 6.