GENESEE COUNTY — As election season heats up ahead of the August primary, local officials are urging candidates to use discretion when placing campaign signs.
Across Genesee County, many candidates and campaign volunteers have resorted to placing signs at intersections and right of ways. According to state law, signs are not permitted to be placed within areas used for clear vision at intersections, commercial driveways or limited-access right of ways.
Genesee County Clerk John Gleason, the county’s chief election officer, said that he’s already received over 40 complaints from residents about illegally placed signs.
“The candidates are not respecting the requirements of the position that they’re running for,” he said. “How can you run for office, where you’re supposed to uphold the law and ordinances, when you break them trying to get the job?”
Gleason said that busy intersections along Pierson Road in Mt. Morris Township have been among the biggest hotspots for illegally placed signage, including the Linden Road and Jennings Road intersections on Pierson.
Fred Peivandi, director of the Genesee County Road Commission, said that the clustering of illegally placed campaign signs along roadways can cause safety hazards for motorists at intersections, curves and driveways.
“It definitely creates a sight vision problem,” he said. “Some of those signs are so tall that when you approach an intersection, your vision is blocked when you want to make a right turn.”
Peivandi said that his crews are removing campaign signs that present an immediate safety concern and storing them at the Genesee County Road Commission office at 211 W. Oakley Street in Flint. Candidates can contact the road commission to retrieve their confiscated signs.
Rather than “stealing” access to public property, Gleason said that candidates should be putting more effort into meeting with voters.
“They want to get their name out there, but they don’t want to approach the voters or the citizens,” he said. “Instead, they should be asking to put signs on supporters’ front yards.”
Despite widespread violations, progress has been made to clear some intersections of illegally placed signs, including on stretches of Pierson Road.
Recently, Gleason spoke with Flushing City administration and asked if they could remove a large cluster of signs that were displayed at the intersection of Pierson and Elms roads in Flushing. Gleason said that the signs were removed within 24 hours.