Sudbury city council says no municipal election signs until nomination period closes
Election signs prohibited before July 27, 2018
Anyone looking to run for municipal office in Sudbury will have to wait a little longer to put out election signs this year.
City council voted on Monday to amend the sign by-law, preventing campaign signs from going up before the nomination period closes on July 27.
The motion was put forward by councillor Al Sizer, in part because of the upcoming provincial election.
"Now that the provincial and municipal elections line up in the same year, we end up with a plethora of signs," Sizer explained.
"I just find there's a fair amount of confusion when you're going around doing your campaigning...and it also detracts from the provincial election which happens June 7th this year."
Councillors disagree on new sign rule
The motion sparked a lengthy debate, with many councillors asking questions about what constitutes an election sign.
"I know there are some candidates that put their face on the side of their vehicle," said councillor Michael Vagnini, who argued that the amendment could be a slippery slope.
"This is a democracy and now we're going to control when the signs are going to be going out. We already have rules and guidelines in place for this."
Several councillors also raised concerns about the message being sent to anyone running against an incumbent. Councillor Robert Kirwan noted that Sudburian have historically voted to re-elect sitting councillors.
"Could this be perceived as us interfering negatively in someone else's ability to run against incumbents?" Kirwan asked.
But other councillors, like Mike Jakubo, argued that the new rule would apply equally to incumbents and newcomers.
Jakubo pointed out that the move is not unprecedented.
"Similar bylaws are in place in other municipalities, so I don't see this as uncharted territory at all."
The amendment doesn't include other types of pre-election activities like door-to-door campaigning, or other forms of advertising including car wraps.
The nomination period for the municipal election will open on May 1.