There are no election signs out there touting Southold Democratic candidates, nor will there be.
Although the decision did not enjoy the unanimous support of those running, the town Democratic leadership has decided to follow through on the sign ban party chairman Art Tillman spoke of earlier this year.
“It may backfire, but we’re committed,” said Bob Meguin, supervisor candidate and deputy town Democratic leader.
“We don’t need to put out lawn sign graffiti. We believe that signs posted on the Main Road and North Road are an insult to the intelligence of the electorate.”
The sign ban decision came after a “vigorous debate” with the party’s candidates, said Mr. Meguin. Some believe signs are needed to counterbalance the GOP name recognition advantage. All GOP candidates currently hold elected office, but the Democratic ticket has no incumbents.
Even so, Mr. Meguin said, “We are calling on the Republicans to join us. But frankly, I don’t expect them to agree.”
Town GOP leader Denis Noncarrow said his party plans to scale back use of the small cardboard “real estate” signs, usually just a few feet wide and placed only a few feet above ground level, but doesn’t endorse a total ban.
“I definitely disagree with the way they do it up-island, where they put signs on every lot,” Mr. Noncarrow said. “But if someone wants a sign in front of their house, should we be telling them they can’t have one?”
He said he agrees with the Democrats that the proliferation of smaller signs “has gotten out of control over the years. If we do put them out, we won’t put a lot of them out there.”
Mr. Meguin said the county Democratic organization has agreed to honor the Southold ban for higher-level races, such as those for county executive and judicial posts.
“Does that mean you won’t see any Democratic signs? I don’t know,” he said. “But they won’t be Southold Democratic signs.”
The supervisor candidate brushed aside the thought that the Democrats are making an empty pledge since, as perennial underdogs, they may not have the money for campaign signs.
“Let the voter make that decision,” he said. “We could put out signs, maybe not as many as the GOP. But we have used them in the past. It may be naive and altruistic to take this approach, but if candidates haven’t gotten their names out to the voters by now, I don’t think 30 signs posted at a shopping center make a difference.”