This is the sixth in a series of articles about “How to Get Elected as a Libertarian.” This article focuses on how to effectively use political signs during your campaign.
In summary, while campaigning as a Libertarian, it is vital to be competitive with political signs, as distasteful as they may be to many of us.
Simply put, signs get your name out there. In addition to being an elected official, I am also a real estate broker and am well aware of the importance of being visible in a community, and becoming a “known commodity.” Regardless of how much networking or internet marketing we do, our real estate signs are vital to market our properties and our company. It is no different for a political candidate.
Start by finding out what the sign restrictions are in your area, and make a list of people and businesses who you feel would be willing to put up a sign. You can then estimate how many signs you might need. You can always order more later as your campaign progresses.
Types of Signs and Where to Order
Political signs are usually very simple, and consist of the person’s name and which political office they are running for. There also has to be a statement somewhere on the sign about who is paying for the signs.
Of course, you need to choose a color. It is important for the sign to be very visible. Gold is the color of the Libertarian Party, but I used red for my signs as that is the color of my real estate company’s logo.
The 18’ x 24” size signs are best for most purposes. Of course, the bigger the sign, the more it will be seen. Depending on your campaign finances, it may be worth it to order larger signs for busy and high visible areas.
Most yard signs are made from corrugated plastic with vertical fluting so that wire stakes can be easily inserted. Anything made of regular cardboard will not survive weather, and stronger signs such as metal signs will be cost prohibitive.
Where should you order your signs? If there is anyone in town who can be competitive, try to buy your signs from a local business! Sadly, in my rural small town, I was unable to find anyone who charged less for signs than Vistaprint.
When and Where to Put Your Signs
If your municipality doesn’t have a date dictating when signs go up, it’s best to start placing them a couple months before the campaign, as many people vote early by absentee ballot.
You can also check for the local ordinances governing where signs can be placed. In my town, I was lucky enough to be able to put signs underneath stop signs at all the corners on the busy roads.
Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family if you can put signs in their yard or at their business. All they can say is “no!”
While you are campaigning door to door, you can also ask friendly people if they will help you out.
I was able to put 100 signs in my township, which is 6 miles by 12 miles. By the end of the campaign, my signs were prevalent on major roads as well as private yards. Obviously, when you are campaigning for a regional or state position it’s more difficult to cover larger areas, but I am hoping that most people reading this are attempting a winning campaign for a local position.
Of course, you will lose signs as the campaign progresses. Weather, opponents, and teenage pranksters commonly destroy signs. My favorite campaign story is when one of my favorite clients snapped a photo of someone stealing my sign. It turned out to be the town drunk who didn’t like me. I can’t begin to put a price on the resulting publicity my campaign received on social media as a result of this sign thief!!
Last but not least, being responsible with your signs is important. They should not be placed on private property without the owner’s permission. It is important to keep a list of where you have all your signs, so that you can pick them up after the election.
In summary, political signs should be an important part of any Libertarian’s campaign for public office.
As an elected Libertarian for a Township Trustee in a small rural northern Michigan town, I believe that the Libertarian Party of Michigan should recruit as many qualified, freedom loving candidates as possible to run for similar local roles across the state.
The topic next month will be about organizing door to door campaigns. I welcome ideas and questions any time at email@example.com.