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Campaign sign scrutiny as elections begin

Alan Maguire, The Park Record

Elections are officially underway as early voting opened Tuesday and candidates are doing everything they can to get their names in front of constituents. One of the most visible ways they do so is with campaign signs, which briefly became a point of debate during The Park Record & KPCW’s candidate forum Monday evening at Newpark Resort.

"Your campaign signs are unlawfully close to the road, particularly [S.R.] 224," an audience member who identified herself as Kristen Brown said to Justin Martinez, who is running for Sheriff. "Your campaign has purchased large banners that are clearly against policy and illegal, what does that say about your understanding of policy and respect for the law," she asked.

"That’s a very direct question, thank you for that," Martinez responded, to some laughs. He said that many people are helping out with his campaign and that if there are "things out of line" he will "rectify that very quickly."

Summit County Clerk Kent Jones, who is himself running for re-election this year, told The Park Record that political signs fall under the category or "temporary signs" in the county’s code and are subject to two basic requirements — that they’re within a certain size limit (about 24 by 18 inches) and "they’re not supposed to be in the right of way."

"Code enforcement is through the planning department," Jones said. "I do know that code enforcement went out and pulled some signs, I think they’ve been — some of the ones that are really obtrusive, right next to the asphalt, I think they’ve pulled. I think if [signs] been down off the road a little they’ve been a little more lenient because they know that they’re going to go away."

The planning department staffer in charge of code enforcement could not be reached for comment before this edition went to press.

On election day, Tuesday, Nov. 4, Jones will need to be on his game.

"The only thing that would be my call is on election day, there can’t be any signs within 150 feet of a polling place or in a polling place," he said. "So long as they’re farther than that distance away then they’re OK.

"It’s called electioneering. So electioneering would include any kind of campaigning, any kind of signage, any kind of promotion toward one candidate or another. It has to be done farther than 150 feet from the polling place."


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