EDMONTON- In southeast Edmonton, it’s hard to miss the fact that there’s a municipal byelection going on.
“It looks like the signage is too much,” voter Sakattar Sandhu said. “All on the road it’s filled.”
Palwnder Gall finds them distracting when he’s driving.
“When you have that many signs, especially on the main intersection, it’s not good for the traffic route,” he said.
Technically, the election advertisements are allowed to be there, according to peace officer Acting Sgt. Macsim Kebede.
“Signs can be placed on City of Edmonton road right of ways, including boulevards,” he said.
But there are strict regulations around how close signs can be to intersections, curbs, bus stops, schools and polling stations.
Candidates are also responsible for speaking to homeowners before putting advertising on private property. The fine for a poorly placed sign is $250.
“We get quite a bit of calls about election signs either from citizens enquiring what the rules are, or from candidates looking for more clarification on the rules.”
Some voters find the signs helpful, including Ward 12 resident, Uresha Patel.
“The seniors, they don’t know by the face, but they can read the sign,” she explained.
Federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi is the former councillor for the riding. He said advertisements are not the most important part of a campaign.
“Signs do play a role to increase the visibility of a candidate and name recognition, but at the end of the day it’s about ideas,” Sohi said. “What are you doing to do for your community?”
Others don’t think the signs are useful and said they don’t impact their vote.
“I did the vote for the qualifications of the candidate and the experience of the candidate,” Sanhdu said.
“Study the people who are going to run right? Not base it just on the sign,” another voter, Palwnder Gall said.
With intense wind gusts last weekend, some signs have already fallen down or been damaged.
“We also advise the candidates to be checking the location where they placed the signs to make sure they are still intact and haven’t blown away,” said Kebede. “If they have blown away, they’re required to pick them up.”
After the election, candidates and their volunteers have 72 hours to remove all the advertisements. If signs are not taken down, residents are encouraged to try and have a discussion directly with the candidate before dialing 311 to get a peace officer involved.