Political signs add interest to the November election

“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign” – Five Man Electrical Band, 1971

We are at that point of the political season where indeed wherever one looks, a political sign will most likely be in view. I always have enjoyed a fascination with such signs, internally rating them on color background choices, font selections and message. When you only are working with a space typically 18” by 24,” every detail counts.

While I don’t pretend to believe the candidates with the best looking sign, or the most strategically placed signs, are going to win, I do believe there are things that can be learned from the signs.

You need to be careful though not to jump to conclusions.

For instance, there always is a curveball waiting for you somewhere. Take State Street for instance. Being one of the main traveled roads in the city, signs through the neighborhood here are especially important. A candidate for the 26th Circuit Court, Joel Bauer, has numerous red, white and blue signs in the area. A casual motorist would think “Wow, that is a lot of support” – which it is, but Joel is the “original good neighbor” of State Street as he also lives there. Like a post-convention presidential bump in the polls, one has to take into account here the “home field advantage” of the neighborhood.

Bauer’s opponent – incumbent Judge Ed Black, took full advantage of the wonderful opportunity his last name presents for him. His sign obviously has an all black background with reverse white lettering “Keep Judge Black” and a scales of justice. Through the center of the sign also runs horizontal white and red lines, which offer a nice contrast to the all black color of the sign and helps to make the reverse lettering more effective.

With the last name Muszynski, Alpena Prosecutor Cynthia doesn’t have room for much of anything else than her name and the office she hopes to be re-elected to. It’s a good thing her red and while signs visually are appealing with the reverse lettering and bold font that was chosen. The placards work well for her.

I wish her opponent Denise Burke would have chosen a different color scheme than blue and orange for her messaging. Or, if she wanted to stay with that, I wish she would have made her signs bigger as they tend to blend into the landscapes in which they are placed.

Political signs have gotten much more creative this year. The Democrats have put up numerous signs throughout the region urging voters to vote for their candidates. Signs that read “It’s okay to change your mind, vote Democrat” or “Vote with heart, not with hate” are some of the messaging that can be found. These banner signs are an interesting departure from the typical messages of past years.

Creativity isn’t just limited to Democrats however, nor are they limited this year to a specific election. Other signs in my travels I have seen include “Say No to Sleepy Joe” which obviously was election related but also “My governor is an idiot” or “I stand in support of my governor.” It is interesting that in a non-election year for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer her COVID-19 related policies are generating such emotion.

Then there are the signs that, well, leave you scratching your head. A number of Alpena Township candidate signs can be seen throughout the city, even though city voters will not be voting for any of the candidates. Obviously the township candidates placed them in locations of high traffic, or else they have friends wanting to show their support.

My favorite head-scratcher thus far this year is the Obama/Biden sign that can be viewed on First Street. The vintage sign is a classic of days gone by.

As long as there have been yard signs, there have been incidents of theft, destruction and vandalism.

An interesting story emerged out of Massachusetts this week where a resident in New Bedford kept having his Trump, Pence 2020 signs stolen from his yard over the course of many weeks going all the way back to May. Finally, sick and tired of the problem, last week he installed an electric fence around the sign. As of this writing the sign has not been tampered with since the fence went up.

Finally, the best location for interesting sign placement can be found near the corner of First and Campbell at the location of Nate Blury’s Financial Services by Design. Blury and his neighbor must be experts with the property line there as there is a Trump sign on Blury’s property, while just a foot or so away is a Biden sign. The close placement of the signs on each’s property definitely makes you look twice in that direction.

Unlike the Hatfields and McCoys, however, the last I heard the neighbors still were speaking.

Bill Speer can be reached at 989-354-3111, ext. 311, or bspeer@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @billspeer13.


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