Election campaign sign rules have changed; not all B.C. municipal candidates are aware - InfoNews

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Election campaign sign rules have changed; not all B.C. municipal candidates are aware

Rules around election signs have changed. Signs require an authorization statement with either an email address, mailing address or B.C. telephone number.
October 15, 2018 - 3:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Election signs have been popping up along streets and major intersections across the province as we enter the last week of the municipal election campaign, but it would appear not all the candidates are fully up to speed on changes made to the rules since the last election.

Civic election candidates must follow specific rules for their election advertising including things like who can sponsor election advertising as well as how to properly display this information.

Kamloops councillor candidate Gerald Kenyon Watson says he placed an election sign too close to private property and was contacted by the owner to remove it. The homeowner was able to contact Watson because he had a phone number on his sign, as per the new regulations.

“I put my sign up and there were other signs there and he called me to say, ‘Look come get your sign off my lawn, I don’t want it there,’” Watson says. He also told Watson he was trying to get a hold of other candidates with signs on his property but they didn't have any contact infomation.

The regulations around campaign advertising changed when the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act was enacted in 2014.

All election signs must display a statement saying the sign is authorized by a registered political party, candidate, or registered advertising sponsor with either a B.C. telephone number, mailing address or an email address, according to Elections B.C.

Andrew Watson with Elections B.C. says they have received several calls about election signs without the mandatory authorization statements.

"When the advertising does not include the required statement we contact the advertising sponsor to inform them of the requirements," Watson says in an emailed statement. "The authorization statement requirement is in place to enhance the transparency of the electoral process."

It's also possible for the authorization statement to be easily missed since they are usually printed in a small or fine font.

In most cases, Watson says the sponsor of the sign is told to fix the advertising and no further action is taken.

If you notice an election sign is missing the required authorization statement, Elections B.C. asks that you take note of the location of the sign, and take a picture if possible, then call Electoral Finance at 1-800-661-8683.


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