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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: campaign yard signs

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May 18, 2012 at 8:30 AM

The politics of yard signs


Campaign signs are the ultimate, well, sign that election season is upon us. But with campaigns going digital and ecological concerns growing, how long will we keep sticking them in our lawns?

SEATTLE — Nothing signals the start of an election year like the first campaign sign driven into your neighbor’s yard. It’s hard to believe that the person that puts the most ink on corrugated plastic has the best chance at winning an election. And with online advertising and social media that may soon be changing.

The wall of old signs inside of Thompson Signs' warehouse serves as a visual political history for the area. (Photo by Lucas Anderson / UW Election Eye)

For Thompson Signs, a local union sign shop in Lacey, that change is not so evident. A family-owned business, Thompson Signs has been printing for 11 years, and has been one of the top vendors for political signs for the last few election cycles.

For its output, Thompson is a surprisingly compact operation: only two men working the printers every day in a warehouse connected to a handful of other small businesses off of Pacific Avenue SE in Lacey. The printers are big machines that make an unescapable sound even in the office, where owner Diana Burton reminds me that she was out working the presses when she first bought the business 11 years ago.

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