Calling Out Illegal Campaign Signs

Bruce Maples (bruceinlouisville@gmail.com)
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See that sign in the picture? It’s illegal … and the candidate should know better.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials have stated repeatedly in the past (here and here, for example) that placing campaign signs in the right-of-way is illegal. In addition, every search on “campaign signs Kentucky” turns up pages like “Kentucky Yard Sign Regulations.”

Is this a big deal? No … and yes. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that egregious a mistake. Taking thousands of dollars in dark money is certainly worse.

campaign sign photo
Photo by Wesley Fryer

BUT – if one candidate obeys the law, and the other breaks the law, then it gives the lawbreaking candidate an advantage. Signs build name recognition; signs indicate momentum; signs show that a campaign is active. Putting up tens or hundreds of signs illegally gives the impression that you have all sorts of support – when in fact all you have is campaign workers breaking the law.

One voter stated publicly that he would refuse to vote for any candidate who broke the law with signs. Maybe if more of us would call out those candidates who flout the law this way, more candidates would play by the rules.

Unlike the candidate shown in the picture.

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