It's Municipal Election season here in Mississauga and candidates and incumbents are working hard to get their messages out to voters through various platforms from social media, to door knocking, events, printed literature and signs.
There's already been a few, let's call them "peculiar," occurrences regarding lawn signs and with the race to October 22nd, we've received a few questions about election signs.
We've addressed them here, along with a few other questions to help make sense of the interesting world of election signs:
Q: Candidate 1 gets permission to put a sign at 123 Modern Road. Candidate 2 also gets permission to put a sign at 123 Modern Road. How close can the signs be to each other?
A: There is no rule on how close election signs can be to each other.
Q: Someone put a sign on my lawn and I did not give permission/I was not asked. Who do I call to have it removed?
A: If a sign is placed on your property without your permission, it’s within your right to remove the sign. You can also reach out to the candidate who's sign was improperly placed on your property and request that they remove it.
Q: Are there any language restrictions for election signs?
A: No. Well, maybe not Klingon.
Q: I'm receiving requests daily to have signs up and I keep firmly saying no. I am also receiving literature being dropped off in my mail box and I do not want it. Who can I call to have these requests stopped?
A: Reach out to the candidate(s) in question and request they stop. Also, If residents do not wish to receive literature in or on their community mailboxes, they should call Canada Post at 1-866-607-6301.
Q: The sign I agreed to was vandalized/damaged - who do I call?
A: Reach out to the candidate(s) in question and inform them.
Q: Is it legal to have a sign posted on the space between a sidewalk and the road?
A: The property between the road and sidewalk is city owned property. However, each location would have to be verified to confirm that it is public property before an election sign is posted.
The City of Mississauga’s Transportation and Works staff will remove election signs that have been placed on public property as part of their daily duties.
Q: Where can election signs be posted?
A: Signs can be posted on private property, with the permission of the landowner, including private property next to public sidewalks or boulevards.
Q: On the flip side, where can election signs not be posted?
A: Signs cannot be posted:
• on or overhanging public property (i.e. any municipal, provincial or federal buildings, or land or fences owned by any government or agency)
• on utility poles, light standards or concrete walls constructed for noise reduction
• on any official sign or official sign structure
• where they could cause harm to the public, for example blocking drivers’ view of other vehicles, pedestrians, road signs or traffic lights
• within 50 metres of the entrance to a polling station
• if they are over 1.5 square metres in size, unless they have permits
Q: After the election, when do the election signs have to be removed by?
A: Within 48 hours after midnight of Election Day.
Q: I live in Ward A. Someone put an election sign for Ward Z in my Ward. What should I do?
A: The short answer? Nothing.
However, if you're so inclined, reach out to the candidate from Ward Z and let them know they've posted their sign in the wrong Ward.
The City of Mississauga Ward boundaries are pretty clear so if someone has put their sign in the incorrect ward, hopefully it’s a simple error opposed to the candidate not knowing where they’re running.
Q: Who should I call/what should I do if I see someone removing an already planted sign?
Seriously though - Inform the candidate in question if you are so inclined.
Sometimes, voters/homeowners change their minds about who they’re voting for. Sometimes the sign is placed on the wrong house accidentally.
Q: What do I do if I see someone vandalizing/damaging an already planted sign?
A: If you’re so inclined, reach out to the candidate(s) in question.
Q: Is a candidate allowed to offer me money/compensation for putting their sign on my property?
A. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
The Municipal Election Act very, very, very clearly states:
(3) No person shall, directly or indirectly,
(a) offer, give, lend, or promise or agree to give or lend any valuable consideration, in connection with the exercise or non-exercise of an elector’s vote;
(b) advance, pay or cause to be paid money intending that it be used to commit an offence referred to in clause (a), or knowing that it will be used to repay money used in that way;
(c) give, procure or promise or agree to procure an office or employment in connection with the exercise or non-exercise of an elector’s vote;
(d) apply for, accept or agree to accept any valuable consideration or office or employment in connection with the exercise or non-exercise of an elector’s vote;
(e) give, procure or promise or agree to procure an office or employment to induce a person to become a candidate, refrain from becoming a candidate or withdraw his or her candidacy;
(f) offer, give, lend, or promise or agree to give or lend any valuable consideration in order to induce a person to become a candidate, refrain from becoming a candidate or withdraw his or her candidacy. 1996, c. 32, Sched., s. 90 (3); 2016, c. 15, s. 67.
An offence described in subsection (3) constitutes a corrupt practice and a person who commits it is, on conviction, disqualified from voting at an election until the next regular election has taken place after the election to which the offence relates, in addition to being liable to any other penalty provided for in this Act. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 21, s. 8 (57).
For even more information about posting election signs, call 3-1-1 in the City of Mississauga or 905-615-4311 outside city limits, or visit mississauga.ca/bylaws.