Sunday, June 13, 2010


Arkansas is a battleground state in the mid-term elections this year. Our primaries were hotly contested, especially on the Democratic side. And that meant a landscape littered with election signs.

Now that the election and runoffs are over, I still see plenty of election signs on roadsides and medians. Homeowners who placed them in their yards have whisked them away, although some for the winning candidates remain in anticipation of the November general election. But every day I pass lonely signs, sometimes in reduced clusters, touting candidates who lost their bids.

Occasionally we hear about localities with regulations about cleaning up signs after elections. I couldn't find any evidence of such laws in Arkansas. But the impression left by orphaned signs of losing candidates left littering the roadsides is that the campaign staff and volunteers gave no thought to the consequences of their publicity blitz except their hope that it would pay off. Every sign that's still there is a testament to the dilution of responsibility and the narrowness inherent in short-term thinking.

Maybe on the weekend after an election, civic-minded folks regardless of party or campaign affiliation should get together and drive around town collecting the signs that no longer serve any purpose. Get enough people with enough pickup-truck beds and trunks, and you could make a dent. Take 'em to the recycling collection center, and return the wire frames to party headquarters, make them available to school and church groups that do sign-based publicity, or sell them back to sign companies.

Mark your calendar for the morning of November 6 -- what do you say? Who's in?

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