Campaign signs a hazard?

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- As the primary election approaches, the candidates are doing anything they can to get your attention and your vote.

It seems the streets are even more cluttered with campaign signs this year.

Political experts say there are more campaign signs this year than the last election because there are so many candidates.

In the governor's race, there are six republican candidates in the primaries. At about 800 signs apiece, that's nearly 5,000 signs just for that race and we still have a long way to go.

"All of them in one spot, maybe 10 of them in one single spot, isn't exactly nice looking," Hana Kalaila said.

Kalaila and a lot of folks across the Valley tell 3TV that the plethora of campaign signs is not only an eyesore but a hazard.

"It distracts everybody," Ricky Lopez said.

Drivers like Lopez say the signs at intersections like Central Avenue and Baseline Road make it tough to spot pedestrians.

"We don't want them to get hit so we worry about the people getting hit so they have to take the signs down," Lopez said.

"Signs serve the purpose of driving candidates' name ID, which is basically the bread and butter of politics," said Chuck Coughlin, president of HighGround Inc.

Coughlin said the campaign signs are a much cheaper way for candidates to get their name out there. For $30,000 they can cover the state.

And in the primaries, where a low voter turnout is expected, they also serve the purpose of getting out the vote.

"It's a visual cue to remind people that there is an election upcoming and it's important to participate in the election cycle," Coughlin said.

Coughlin said most cities have strict laws that dictate how long the signs can be up and how big they can be.

But with a month still to go before primary election night, not everyone is convinced.

"They just need to take the signs down," Lopez said. "That is the best thing for everybody."

So, basically, for 500 to 750 of these signs, it costs a campaign about $15,000. It costs another $5,000 for the companies that actually drive around and put up the signs. But when one 30-second TV spot costs up to $1,500, it's apparent why they feel like this is a more cost effective way to get their names out there.