March 15, 2018

Erin has new rules for election signs

Election candidates will have to post a $125 refundable deposit with the Town of Erin to cover possible enforcement costs if there are violations of the new election sign bylaw.

Clerk Dina Lundy drafted a bylaw that will apply to federal, provincial and municipal elections. Council approved it with minor modifications on March 6.

It includes a sign height restriction of one metre, an area restriction of three square metres and a list of where signs may not be placed (including within two metres of a roadway).

The town will notify candidates of infractions, and may remove illegally placed signs, destroy those not picked up by candidates and recover its costs.

The provincial election is on June 7 and the municipal election is on Oct. 22 this year.

Signs were to be allowed for 45 days leading up to a municipal election, but this was changed after Councillor John Brennan noted that such a short period would disadvantage new candidates who need to build up name recognition.

Council has decided that nominated municipal candidates can put up signs as of Sept. 1, which is 52 days before the election.

Nominations can be filed starting May 1, and the deadline (‘nomination day”) is now much earlier than in previous elections, moving from the second Friday in September to the fourth Friday in July.

There will be no referendum questions on the Erin ballot this year, since the deadline for placing such questions was March 1. Also, council has rejected the option of ranked ballots.

The town will continue to use the vote-by-mail system that has been in effect since 2006. Everyone on the Voters List will receive a voter kit, and have the option of mailing their ballot by Oct. 12, or dropping it off at Town Hall on election day.

Lundy had suggested charging candidates a $25 non-refundable fee to cover the cost of administering the new sign bylaw, but councillors said that would be unreasonable.

Initially, signs were to be prohibited within 30 feet of a street corner, to promote traffic safety with a “daylight triangle” of visibility. This has been changed to 10 feet.

All election signs must be removed with 96 hours of the election.