Campaign Signs Usurp The Roadways

With early voting underway, political candidates are in a final push to get their names out to the public. Candidates traditionally use roadside signs to etch their names in voters' heads. But are the signs helpful to voters, or just a nuisance.

Many voters say the ignore campaign signs altogether.

"I'm watching a 2-year old," says Tyler resident Shanna Richardson. "I really don't have time to pay attention to the signs."

Educated voters say they learn about candidates through other avenues.

"I'm not affected or influenced by these signs at all," says Tyler resident John Hardin. "I already know who I'm going to vote for."

Intersections like South Broadway Ave. and Loop 323 have clusters of signs. Though it's common to set up at major intersections, it's hardly an effective set-up, according to Bill Ferrell, director of public relations at Ferrell & Spell Advertising and Public Relations. Ferrell has produced ads for more than 20 campaigns.

"It's (all the signs clustered together) too much," says Ferrell. "But, it's a situation you can't control. You have to be here because your opponents are here."

Ferrell says the best advertising comes from voters who put signs up in their yards. Ferrell says it's a grass roots approach that goes along way -- mainly because it gives candidates a more one on one connection with the community.

Tyler resident Ace Shelton is one such voter. A sign promoting Becky Dempsey (R) for County Judge sits on his front lawn. Shelton usually has two or three candidate posters out each election.

The ads belong to "candidates that I respect, and candidates that would do their upmost to do the job well," says Shelton.

Bill Ferrell says the signs are mainly used for name recognition and can be useful when placed properly.

To make sure signs do not disrupt the flow of traffic, the Texas Department of Public Transportation created criteria for campaigns to follow. Any sign that is too high, too heavy or too distracting is violating the law and subject to a fine.