Campaign signs: truthful or confusing?

Posted at 1:06 AM, Oct 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-31 02:06:19-04

MCLENNAN & BELL COUNTIES, TX — Do campaign signs turn your head? Do they make you think about candidates? Do they influence your vote?
A 25 News investigation found some political signs can seem misleading, while others barely tell you who's running in what race.
Candidates sometimes diverge from their parties, why some go with alernative colors, and why neither party believes one internet claim making the rounds.
They're a candidate's brand... their calling card.
Some say, they can look at a political sign and know whether they want to vote for that candidate or not.
"I wish people wouldn't do that I know they do, I'm not one of them," said Sarah Taylor of Lacy Lakeview.
Because some liken the selling of candidates, on TV and on political signs, to the selling of soap.

Longtime political operatives tell me that you should be able to tell everything you need to know about a candidate, by looking at their sign they should answer all of your questions. But we found some signs actually raised more questions than they answer.
We found some candidates of both parties, running in partisan races, not even mentioning their parties.
"I do believe that a sign should disclose what political persuasion you are," explained Col. Jon Ker, Texas Republican Executive Committee.
But not all do. We found Republican Red candidates with blue signs and Democrat blue candidates with red signs.
Some even go with alternate color schemes.
"I have seen a bit of staying away from either one and going with a different color scheme and and talking about who the candidate is rather than who the party is," said Chris Kelley Rosenberg, President of the Bell County Democrats
But it doesn't always work.
"I ran for the school board many years ago here in, in the Midway school board I used a black and white sign any got me nowhere. I can't, I came in fourth and in a five man race," said Colonel Ker.
Why do candidates make the choices they do?
You can't get much redder than Pete Sessions... but his signs? blue and gold. Why?
"They've always been that way Pete had picked up those colors, because of the contrast and because it was visually very appealing," said Kirk Bell, Sessions' campaign manager.
...and experts say, easiest to see, according to sessions himself.
Then there's the Biden Harris sign.
Internet posts say the E in the sign symbolizes a Chinese symbol for socialism.
"honest mistake or subliminal messaging? I think conspiracy theories are part of the reason that we're in big trouble right now, um, when, when we're when we're going to believe a conspiracy theory over the facts that are presented to us. I just think that's part of the problem," said Rosenberg.
Even Republicans have their doubts about this claim.
"It does make you wonder, but you got to say, if it's on the internet, you have to take that with a grain of salt to, you know, you know, " said Ker.
In fact, the non-partisan journalism think tank The Poynter Institute on it's "Politifact" page calls the charge an "out-and-out lie".
It says the inspiration for the logo came from the American flag, and cites its sources for making its claim.
It gives pause to natural fact-checkers like Sarah Taylor, who admit, a sign can turn their head... but not their vote.
"I guess subliminally it's going to affect, it's gonna make me think a little more, but it's not gonna really influence who I vote for," she said.
Because just like commercials that sell soap... she says we should check things out before we buy.